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Yes, You Can Become an Organ Donor

The oldest organ donor was 95. Age, medical conditions and religious affiliation are often not obstacles to giving the gift of life.

One voice, one vision to save and heal lives - National Minority Donor Awareness Month

If you aren’t already an organ donor, it might be for one of these reasons:

You think you’re too old.

You believe your medical conditions would rule you out.

You aren’t sure your religion allows it.

To those concerns, the Gift of Life Donor Program offers three facts on donating the gift of life to one of thousands of people waiting to receive a donated organ:

1. Age is not a barrier. The oldest organ donor in the United States was 95 and people older than 80 are able to save lives by being donors.

2. Your medical history doesn’t always rule you out. A medical team reviews potential donors at the time of death and only a few medical problems, such as metastatic cancer, exclude a person from becoming a donor.

3. “All major religions in the U.S. support organ and tissue donation,” according to the Gift of Life Donor Program. Many faiths view organ donation as the “ultimate act of charity and self-sacrifice,” the program says. In fact, a special emphasis is placed on faith-based organizations in November during the National Donor Sabbath.

This month, the Gift of Life organization is observing National Minority Donor Awareness Month – an awareness effort to increase organ donors among diverse groups. Organs are not matched based on race or ethnicity, but 60% of people waiting for a donated organ are from communities of color, the Gift of Life Donor Program says. But compatible blood types and tissue markers are more likely to be found among members of the same ethnicity.

“All individuals waiting for an organ transplant will have a better chance of receiving one if there are large numbers of donors from their racial/ethnic background,” according to the Gift of Life.

CSL Behring is raising awareness about organ donation and supporting transplant recipients as it researches potential new treatments in transplant medicine. Earlier this year, the company launched TransplantLyfe, a first-of-its-kind community platform.

How do you become an organ donor? In the U.S., you can register in person or online through your state’s department of motor vehicles. In Europe, a number of countries have an opt-out system, which means a person is presumed to be willing to be a donor unless they formally decline. 

Learn more at the Gift of Life Donor Program.