Organ donation saves thousands of lives every year.
One person can save eight lives through the gift of organ donation and can save or enhance the lives of up to 100 with the donation of corneas and tissues.
Unfortunately, there is a drastic shortage of organ donors in this country and the demand far exceeds the supply. More than 120,000 men, women and children await life-saving organ transplants and 22 people die each day while waiting. You have the power to help change that! Register your decision today at www.DonateLifeTexas.org.

About Donation

Donation Process

Decision To donate

Organ donation begins with an individual (or their Next-of-Kin) making the decision to be a life-saving donor. Texans can register their decision at www.DonateLifeTexas.org or when they receive or renew their Driver License or renew their registration at the Department of Motor Vehicles. If a patient who is a potential donor is not registered, his or her Next-of-Kin will have to make that decision at an already difficult time.

Identifying A Potential Donor

Organ Procurement Organizations (OPOs) work closely with the hospitals in their service area and by law, hospitals must contact their OPO when a patient is a potential donor. The OPO staff is able to evaluate the patient to see if they meet certain criteria to donate as well as check the registry to see if the patient is a registered donor.

Authorization For Donation

If the patient is indeed a candidate for donation and has not registered their decision, the OPO must get consent for organ donation from the patient's Next-of-Kin. The OPO staff also obtains a social and medical history at that time.

Matching Organs To Potential Recipients

Information including the potential donor's blood type, size and weight is sent to the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS). UNOS maintains and oversees the national waiting list for patients awaiting a transplant. The UNOS computer system then matches the best potential recipients for those organs and returns the result to the OPO.

Transplant

The OPO works with the transplant centers of the potential recipients so that procurement can take place at the donor's hospital. The organs are recovered and taken to the respective transplant centers so the transplant surgery can take place. The video below explains the donation process and how one person is able to save the lives of eight individuals through the gift of organ donation.

Myths About donation

MYTH: Doctors won't try to save me if they know I am an organ donor.
FACT: The doctor's job is to save their patient's life. Organ donation is considered only after every effort to save the patient's life has occurred and brain death is declared. The organ procurement team is not even notified until every effort to save the patient's life has occurred.
MYTH: Donation will disfigure my body.
FACT: Organs are recovered surgically in an operation similar to open-heart surgery. The body will not be disfigured in any way.
MYTH: Brain death is the same as coma. If I'm warm and have a heartbeat I am still alive.
FACT: Brain death is the irreversible loss of all functions of the brain, including the brain stem. A patient determined to be brain dead is legally and clinically dead.
MYTH: Organ donation is against my religion.
FACT: Organ donation is not prohibited by any mainstream religion. In fact, most religions encourage donation and even call it the most "ultimate act of charity."
MYTH: Wealthy and famous people receive organs before regular people.
FACT: Organ allocation is blind to wealth or status of the patients on the waiting list. Organs are allocated according to the severity of illness, time on the waiting list, blood and tissue type, and size of organ.
MYTH: I'm too old and/or too sick to be a donor.
FACT: No one should rule themselves out as a donor. Organs are tested for their viability prior to transplant and medical professionals will make that determination when the time comes. Older people and those with various illnesses have been successful donors.

Donation Faqs

How do I ensure my donation wishes are carried out?

Register your decision to donate on the official state registry at www.DonateLifeTexas.org or when you renew your license or auto registration. Discuss your decision with family members and ask if they too want to be organ donors.

What if I'm too sick or too old to be a donor?

Anyone, regardless of age, can be considered a potential donor. Allow medical professionals to determine organ donation potential when the time comes.

Will my religion allow me to donate organs?

All mainstream religions endorse donation or leave it up to the individual. Some, like the Catholic religion even call donation the "ultimate act of charity."

If doctors know I'm a donor, will they try as hard to save me?

Medical personnel will do all they can to save a patient's life. It's only after every life-saving effort has been made that donation would even be considered.

Will my family be charged for organ donation?

Family members are not charged anything for organ donation. After brain death is pronounced and consent is given, the organ procurement organization will pay for any costs associated with organ donation.

Can I have an open casket funeral if I'm an organ donor?

Yes, organ donation does not interfere with any type of burial service. Donation is completed in a surgical procedure, similar to open-heart surgery.

Religious Views

Most religions support donation and transplantation. Please contact your religious leader for more information on your religion's beliefs or see below.

AME & AME ZION (African Methodist Episcopal)

Organ and tissue donation is viewed as an act of neighborly love and charity by these denominations. They encourage all members to support donation as a way of helping others.

AMISH

The Amish will consent to transplantation if they believe it is for the well-being of the transplant recipient. John Hostetler, world renowned authority on Amish religion and Professor of Anthropology at Temple University in Philadelphia, says in his book, Amish Society, "The Amish believe that since God created the human body, it is God who heals. However, nothing in the Amish understanding of the Bible forbids them from using modern medical services, including surgery, hospitalization, dental work, anesthesia, blood transfusions or immunization."

ASSEMBLY OF GOD

The Church has no official policy regarding organ and tissue donation, but the decision to donate is left up to the individual. Donation is highly supported by the denomination.

BAPTIST

Donation is supported as an act of charity and the church leaves the decision to donate up to the individual.

BRETHREN

The Church of the Brethren's Annual Conference in 1993 developed a resolution on organ and tissue donation supporting and encouraging donation. They wrote that, "We have the opportunity to help others out of love for Christ, through the donation of organs and tissues."

BUDDHISM

Buddhists believe that organ/tissue donation is a matter of individual conscience and place high value on acts of compassion. Reverend Gyomay Masao, President and Founder of the Buddhist Temple of Chicago, says, "We honor those people who donate their bodies and organs to the advancement of medical science and to saving lives." The importance of letting loved ones know your wishes is stressed. Many families will not give permission to donate unless they know their loved one wanted to be a donor.

CATHOLICISM

Catholics view organ/tissue donation as an act of charity and love. Transplants are morally and ethically acceptable to the Vatican. According to Father Leroy Wickowski, Director of the Office of Health Affairs of the Archdiocese of Chicago, "We encourage donation as an act of charity. It is something good that can result from tragedy and a way for families to find comfort by helping others." Pope Francis describes the act of organ donation as a "testimony of love for our neighbor."

CHRISTIAN CHURCH (Disciples of Christ)

The Christian Church encourages organ and tissue donation, stating that individuals were created for God's glory and for sharing God's love. A 1985 resolution, adopted by the general assembly, encourages ". . . members of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) to enroll as organ donors and prayerfully support those who have received an organ transplant."

CHRISTIAN SCIENCE

The Church of Christ Scientist does not have a specific position regarding organ and tissue donation. According to the First Church of Christ Scientist in Boston, Christian Scientists normally rely on spiritual means of healing instead of medical. They are free, however, to choose whatever form of medical treatment they desire -- including a transplant. The question of organ/tissue donation is an individual decision.

EPISCOPAL

The Episcopal Church passed a resolution in 1982 that recognizes the life-giving benefits of organ, blood, and tissue donation. All Christians are encouraged to become organ, blood, and tissue donors "as part of their ministry to others in the name of Christ, who gave His life that we may have life in its fullness."

GREEK ORTHODOX

According to Reverend Dr. Milton Efthimiou, Director of the Department of Church and Society for the Greek Orthodox Church of North and South America, "the Greek Orthodox Church is not opposed to organ donation as long as the organs and tissue in question are used to better human life, i.e., for transplantation or for research that will lead to improvements in the treatment and prevention of disease."

HINDUISM

According to the Hindu Temple Society of North America, Hindus are not prohibited by religious law from donating their organs. This act is an individual's decision. H.L. Trivedi, in Transplantation Proceedings, stated that, "Hindu mythology has stories in which the parts of the human body are used for the benefit of other humans and society. There is nothing in the Hindu religion indicating that parts of humans, dead or alive, cannot be used to alleviate the suffering of other humans."

INDEPENDENT CONSERVATIVE EVANGELICAL

Generally, Evangelicals have no opposition to organ and tissue donation. Each church is autonomous and leaves the decision to donate up to the individual.

ISLAM

The religion of Islam strongly believes in the principle of saving human lives. According to A. Sachedina in his Transplantation Proceedings' article, "Islamic Views on Organ Transplantation," ". . . the majority of the Muslim scholars belonging to various schools of Islamic law have invoked the principle of priority of saving human life and have permitted the organ transplant as a necessity to procure that noble end."

JEHOVAH'S WITNESS

According to their National Headquarters, the Watch Tower Society, Jehovah's Witness believe donation is a matter of individual decision. Jehovah's Witness are often assumed to be opposed to donation because of their belief against blood transfusion. However, this merely means that all blood must be removed from the organs and tissues before being transplanted. In addition, it would not be acceptable for an organ donor to receive blood as part of the organ recovery process.

JUDAISM

All four branches of Judaism (Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, and Reconstructionist) support and encourage donation. According to Orthodox Rabbi Moses Tendler, Chairman of the Biology Department of Yeshiva University in New York City and Chairman of the Bioethics Commission of the Rabbinical Council of America, "If one is in the position to donate an organ to save another's life, it's obligatory to do so, even if the donor never knows who the beneficiary will be. The basic principle of Jewish ethics - 'the infinite worth of the human being' - also includes donation of corneas, since eyesight restoration is considered a life-saving operation." In 1991, the Rabbinical Council of America (Orthodox) approved organ donations as permissible, even required, from brain-dead patients. Both the Reform and Conservative movements also have policy statements strongly supporting donation.

LUTHERAN

In 1984, the Lutheran Church in America (Missouri-Synod) passed a resolution stating that donation contributes to the well-being of humanity and can be "an expression of sacrificial love for a neighbor in need." They call on "members to consider donating organs and to make any necessary family and legal arrangements, including the use of a signed donor card."

MENNONITE

Mennonites have no formal position on donation, but are not opposed to it. They believe the decision to donate is up to the individual and/or their family.

MORMON (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints)

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints believes that the decision to donate is an individual one made in conjunction with family, medical personnel, and prayer. They do not oppose donation.

MORAVIAN

The Moravian Church does not have an official policy addressing organ/tissue donation or transplantation. Robert E. Sawyer, President, Provincial Elders Conference, Moravian Church of America, Southern Province, states, "There is nothing in our doctrine or policy that would prevent a Moravian pastor from assisting a family in making a decision to donate or not to donate an organ." It is, therefore, a matter of individual choice.

PENTECOSTAL

Pentecostals believe that the decision to donate should be left up to the individual.

PRESBYTERIAN

Presbyterians encourage and support donation. They respect a person's right to make decisions regarding their own body. During their General Assembly in 1995, they wrote a strong support of donation and commented that they "encourage its members and friends to sign and carry Universal Donor Cards. . ."

SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTIST

Donation and transplantation are strongly encouraged by Seventh-Day Adventists. They have many transplant hospitals, including Loma Linda in California. Loma Linda specializes in pediatric heart transplantation.

SHINTO

In Shinto, the dead body is considered to be impure and dangerous, and thus quite powerful. "In folk belief context, injuring a dead body is a serious crime. . .", according to E. Namihira in his article, "Shinto Concept Concerning the Dead Human Body." "To this day it is difficult to obtain consent from bereaved families for organ donation or dissection for medical education or pathological anatomy . . . the Japanese regard them all in the sense of injuring a dead body." Families are often concerned that they not injure the itai - the relationship between the dead person and the bereaved people.

SOCIETY OF FRIENDS (Quaker)

Organ and tissue donation is believed to be an individual decision. The Society of Friends does not have an official position on donation.

UNITARIAN UNIVERSALIST

Unitarian Universalists affirm the inherent worth and dignity of every person and respect the interdependent web of all existence. They affirm the value of organ and tissue donation, but leave the decision to each individual.

UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST

Reverend Jay Litner, Director, Washington Office of the United Church of Christ Office for Church in Society, states that "United Church of Christ people, churches and agencies are extremely and overwhelmingly supportive of organ sharing. The General Synod has never spoken to this issue because, in general, the Synod speaks on more controversial issues, and there is no controversy about organ sharing, just as there is no controversy about blood donation in the denomination. While the General Synod has never spoken about blood donation, blood donation rooms have been set up at several General Synods. Similarly, any organized effort to get the General Synod delegates or individual churches to sign organ donation cards would meet with generally positive responses."

UNITED METHODIST

The United Methodist Church issued a policy statement in 1984 regarding organ and tissue donation. In it, they state that "The United Methodist Church recognizes the life-giving benefits of organ and tissue donation, and thereby encourages all Christians to become organ and tissue donors by signing and carrying cards or driver's licenses, attesting to their commitment of such organs upon their death, to those in need, as part of their ministry to others in the name of Christ, who gave his life that we might have life in its fullness." A 1992 resolution states, "Donation is to be encouraged, assuming appropriate safeguards against hastening death and determination of death by reliable criteria." The resolution further states that, "Pastoral-care persons should be willing to explore these options as a normal part of conversation with patients and their families."

WESLEYAN CHURCH

The Wesleyan Church supports donation as a way of helping others. They believe that God's "ability to resurrect us is not dependent on whether or not all our parts were connected at death." They also support research and in 1989 noted in a task force on public morals and social concerns that "one of the ways that a Christian can do good is to request that their body be donated to a medical school for use in teaching."

Need By
Ethnicity

More than half of the national waiting list is made up of individuals from ethnic communities.

While organs aren't matched by race or ethnicity, transplants are usually more successful if the donor and recipient share the same genetic similarity. The need for transplants in some ethnic communities is higher than in the general population due to the growing incidence of diabetes and hypertension, two afflictions which can damage the kidneys.

In Texas, the number of those individuals waiting for a life-saving transplant is listed below.
OrganHispanicCaucasianAfrican AmericanAsianAmerican Indian/
Alaska Native
Multi-RacialPacific Islander
79188995030
1200000
2378242000
485948131421022
203640000
2848251000
4,6022,4072,813464263421
0100000
5,2383,7083,096514363923
As of July 2, 2016. Source of data: United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS).
Countless other minority patients are waiting for lifesaving tissue transplants.