Donation Process

Deciding to donate your organs is an enormous gift. The number of available organs from deceased donors is limited, and many people on the organ waiting list die before they can receive one. At Lahey Hospital & Medical Center, we can help you understand how to donate your organs after death.

After your death, you could help save up to 8 lives by donating multiple organs. If you are in an accident and are declared legally dead, a member of the organ procurement organization (OPO) must obtain consent from your family to donate your organs.

After your organ donation, the OPO transports them to the transplant centers of the intended recipients. Once the donated organs are removed, your body is prepared according to your family’s wishes. The donor can still have an open-casket funeral if desired.

Registering as an Organ Donor

Registering to become an organ donor does not grant anyone the right to take your organs. This means that having a “donor” sticker on your driver’s license does not automatically authorize physicians to take your organs, nor will you receive improper medical attention because of it.

Due to the moral implications of donation, this process is carefully monitored by the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS). They have ruled that to protect the donor, the only two ways to donate organs legally are:

  • Getting permission from the family of the deceased
  • Obtaining consent directly from the donor before he or she undergoes certain risky medical procedures

You can register to be a donor online or at your local motor vehicle department.