Become an organ, eye & tissue donor today.

Common Questions

Q: Am I too old to sign up?

No, there are no age limits to register. People in their 90s have become donors!

Q: Does my religion support donation?

Most major religions approve of organ, tissue and eye donation and consider it the ultimate act of human kindness and generosity. The largest religions in Michigan -- including Catholicism, Protestantism, Judaism, and Islam -- support donation or leave the choice up to the individual.

 

For more information on your religion’s position on organ donation, we recommend speaking with your faith leader. If they have questions about the donation process or would like to consult with another member of the clergy, please have them contact us.

 

Additional resources on religion and organ donation can be found at the US Department of Health and Human Services website.

Q: I have health problems. Can I still be a donor?

Yes, everyone is considered as a potential donor regardless of medical conditions, so please don't rule yourself out. A diabetic, for example, might have unhealthy kidneys, but a very strong heart or lungs. Donors with some medical conditions, such as hepatitis or HIV, are able to save or prolong the lives of who already have hepatits or HIV. Medical criteria for organ donation changes as medical advances occur; a physician evaluates all potential donors at the time of death to determine what can be used to help others. 

 

Q: How much does it cost to donate?

Nothing. It won’t cost your estate or your family anything. All procedures related to the donation are covered by Gift of Life Michigan.

Q: Can I indicate specific organs or tissue to be donated?

Joining the Michigan Organ Donor Registry gives consent for all organs and tissues that are healthy enough to help another person. However, people wishing to limit their gift may create a separate document to indicate specific organs and tissues they want to donate. They should keep this in their own possession and let their families know where it is kept.

Q: Why is it important to register as a donor?

Your gift will be used to help others through transplantation, therapy, research and education. If you register to become a donor, you relieve your grieving family of having to make a decision when you die. Having your wishes documented also ensures that your decision to donate will be carried out, if medically possible.

Q: Will I still be able to have an open casket at the funeral?

Yes, donors are afforded the utmost respect and care, and neither organ nor tissue donation need interfere with open casket viewings.

Q: How do I sign up?

You can do so right here, by visiting any Secretary of State branch office or by calling Gift of Life at 866-500-5801. It takes just a minute.

Q: Why should I donate?

More than 3,000 people are waiting for a life-saving organ transplant in Michigan today. Nationwide, there are about 115,000 people waiting. People die waiting every single day because the number in need greatly outpaces the organs available. There is an especially critical need for hearts, livers and kidneys.

Your decision to someday donate your organs could save up to eight lives. Your tissue can ease the pain and improve the lives of up to 75 more sick or injured people.

Q: Will doctors work as hard to save my life if they know I’m a donor?

Yes, absolutely! This is perhaps the number one myth about organ donation. When a patient arrives at the hospital, the only priority is to save his or her life. Doctors and other medical personnel have both a moral and legal obligation to give you the best care possible. Organ donation is not considered or even discussed until after every effort has been made to save a patient’s life.

 

A brain-dead patient on a ventilator is dead, with the ventilator artificially supporting the function of the heart and lungs. This should not be confused with a patient in a coma, who is still alive and will not be considered a potential organ donor. The extensive evaluation, testing and documentation done by doctors is put in place so a patient in a coma is not mistaken for one who is brain dead.

 

Only when death is imminent or after a patient has been declared dead will the Michigan Organ Donor Registry be checked to see if the patient made a decision to donate. By law, the medical team treating the donor patient must be completely separate from the transplant team.