WHO CAN DONATE
Organ, tissue and eye donors come from all walks of life—all with different backgrounds and life experiences. Our bodies are all different too, but despite our age, health or appearance, each one of us has the potential to be a donor and make a significant difference in the lives of others.
It's impossible to say who will and who won't be able to donate until the time of their death. But there's one very simple truth when it comes to registering. Anyone over the age of 16 can register to be an organ, tissue and eye donor regardless of their age, health or lifestyle.
If you’re like most people, you probably believe that organ, tissue, and eye donation is the right thing to do. Over 98% of Nebraskans say they support donation, but only a little over 50% are registered. Myths, misinformation and excuses often keep people from registering to be a donor while the waiting list continues to grow. Educating yourself and others on the truth about donation can make a significant difference for those in need of a transplant.
Myth: I'm too old to donate. You don't want anything I have.
People of all ages need organ, tissue, and eye transplants. Thankfully, people of all ages can be donors. There are no age restrictions for organ donation. In fact, individuals in their 90s have been able to donate and save the lives of others, and even the youngest of children have given life in tragic circumstances. See how Allen Harn saved a life at age 72 and learn how Christian became a donor at just three days old.
Myth: I have a health condition. I can't register.
People who battle medical issues and those that have overcome life-threatening diseases are rightfully cautious when it comes to registering to donate. The good news is that even with a lengthy medical history you still have the potential to donate and you can safely register to be a donor without risk or worry. Every potential donor is thoroughly evaluated, and their medical history reviewed, prior to donation to ensure the safety of all recipients.
Myth: I've been too hard on my body to register
We encourage everyone to make safe and healthy lifestyle choices. But let's face it, we're all human. The use of alcohol, tobacco, and drugs doesn't prevent you from being a donor. We test all potential donated organs and tissues to determine if there’s any damage caused by drugs or alcohol that would make them unsafe for transplant.
Myth: My family will have to pay extra for donation
Anyone considering registering to be a donor should not be concerned about the cost of donation. All expenses associated with the donation of organs, tissues, or eyes are covered by the organization that carries out the recovery. Hospital care prior to authorization for donation and funeral costs, however, are not paid by the donation organization.
Myth: My religion doesn't support donation
A person’s faith is a very personal matter and one that can influence their decision to register as an organ, tissue, and eye donor. We respect and serve people of all faiths and cultures. Today, nearly all major religions support donation. To learn more about the views of your belief system, talk to your religious advisor or read the summary of theological statements on organ and tissue donation from the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS).