Top Organ Donation Questions Answered By An Attorney
Facts and Statistics about Organ Donation
- 113,000 – people are on the Donor List;
- 80% of people waiting are in need of a kidney;
- 12% of patients are waiting for a liver;
- 8,000 people die each year because the organs they need are not donated in time;
- Another person is added to the waiting list every 10 minutes.
How do I know if I am already a Donor or Not? The fastest way to find out if you have already registered to be a donor is to look at your Driver’s License. Do you have a red heart on your Driver’s License? If you do, then you are a donor. If you do not, then you are most likely not a donor. You can also check online with Donate for Life here: https://www.donatelifetexas.org/my-dlt/
Why is Organ Donation so Important? Donated organs and tissue save lives, restore vision, and improves mobility. We just don’t have the science yet. Even though science has come far it has not come far enough. Did you know that if a Donor meets the criteria, eight lives can be saved through organ donation and countless through tissue donation?
BEING A DONOR WON’T AFFECT YOUR CARE! Your Doctor’s priority is saving your life, not making an organ match. A Donor is usually given additional tests to confirm nothing else can be done to save their lives.
Can I still have a funeral? Usually, a donor’s body is carefully reconstructed so that donations do not interfere with an open casket funeral if that is what the family wants. Any signs of Organ donation are usually covered by clothing or the eyes being closed.
Are there any costs? No, you nor your family will be billed for any costs associated with organ donation. Families cannot be paid for any donations; this is a violation of federal and state laws.
How Do I Become An Organ Donor? You can register to become a donor here: https://www.donatelifetexas.org/register/
Is Donate Life Texas the only Registry in Texas? The Donate Life Texas Registry is the only official organ, eye, and tissue donor registry for Texas.
Who Can Register? Anyone can register! You can be of any age, ethnicity, county of origin, or health status can register. There is no way to know when a person may pass away and what conditions may exist at that time. Is there an age limit? The oldest donor on record is 93 years old. Organs can be donated until about 75. However, there is no age limit for tissue donation. When you pass away medical professionals will decide at that time whether your organs are usable. You don’t have to be in the picture of health.
Can I still have a funeral? Usually, a donor’s body is carefully reconstructed so that donations do not interfere with an open casket funeral if that is what you or your family want. Any signs of Organ donation are usually covered by clothing or the eyes being closed.
There is a separate list for blood type donations for people diagnosed with life-threatening blood cancer like Leukemia and Lymphoma. Be The Match manages the largest and most diverse marrow registry in the world. Learn more and register here: https://bethematch.org/. For patients diagnosed with leukemia, lymphoma, and other life-threatening diseases, bone marrow or cord blood transplant may be their best or only hope for a cure. Yet, 70% of patients who need a transplant do not have a fully matched donor in their family. They depend on Be The Match® and their supporters to find a match to save their life. Be The Match also provides one-on-one support to patients and their families throughout the transplant journey. Clients often ask us what is a Bone Marrow Transplant? Healthy marrow and blood cells are needed to live. When the disease affects marrow so that it cannot function properly, a marrow or cord blood transplant could be the best treatment option, and for some patients, it offers the only potential cure. A bone marrow transplant takes a donor’s healthy blood-forming cells and puts them into the patient’s bloodstream, where they begin to grow and make healthy red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. Patients receive high doses of chemotherapy to prepare their body for the transplant. Then on transplant day, the patient gets the donated cells like getting blood or medicine through an intravenous (IV) catheter or tube.
It’s important to talk to your Estate Planning Lawyer about more than just your documents like your will and power of attorney. We encourage you to ask them about Organ Donation too. An Estate Planning Attorney can help you think through all the decisions you need to make about End of Life.
Top Legal Questions to Ask Your Estate Planning Attorney about Organ Donation
- Can I put my wishes about Organ Donation in my Will?
Yes. Under Texas law, you can. In order for your gift to be effective, the document must be signed by the donor in the presence of two witnesses. However, the question really is should you and the and is NO! You should register online and make your wishes known because often the will is not located until it’s too late to donate organs.
2. After I Register can I Change my Mind? If so What happens?
Yes, you can unregister yourself and request another copy of your driver’s license without the heart stating you are a donor. There is a charge for a new license.