Donation Essentials Blog

Who can register to donate organs after death?

Proud to Say Yes to Organ and Tissue Donation! 

This PRIDE month celebrates all the contributions made by the queer community including being Registered Organ Donors. Have you wondered who can donate organs after death? We’re here to tell you that EVERYONE can register to donate after death, no matter age, sexuality, or medical conditions. During the month of June, we show our support and celebrate the queer community as important and contributing members of society. As we continue to raise awareness, improve the attitudes of society, and encourage inclusiveness, it is important to recognize that our neighbors are making life-saving contributions every day. Here are answers to questions surrounding donation and transplantation relating to sexuality, age, and medical history. Some answers may surprise you!

Answering your questions about who can be organ donors after death:
who can register to donate organs after death? EVERYONE CAN!

Did you know those who are part of the queer community can be organ donors?

That’s right! The eligibility question comes up often when individuals wonder who can donate organs after death. Organ donation is regulated by Health and Human Services (HHS). Gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender people can donate organs. Sexual orientation or gender identity does NOT prevent an individual from being a living or deceased organ donor. HHS measures donor compatibility based on pre-existing medical conditions at the time of donation.

While some members of the community may not be able to donate blood or tissue, there are no limitations for organ donation. The FDA regulates eye and tissue donation and there is work underway today to include all members of the queer community as eye and tissue donors. Currently, males engaged in male-to-male sexual activity in the last 5 years cannot donate cornea or tissue.

Does sexual orientation prevent an individual from receiving an organ transplant?

No! A person’s gender identity or sexual orientation has no impact on whether they can receive an organ transplant. As long as they are evaluated by a transplant center and determined to be fit to go through the transplant process, they can be a recipient. Only medical and logistical factors are used in organ matching.

Did you know that you can register to be a donor at any age? 

People rule themselves out as potential donors, due to health or age restrictions. But each person is evaluated at the time of their death by a medical professional and determined to be an eligible donor or not. The oldest tissue donor in Colorado and Wyoming in 2022 was 105 years old! Registering as an organ and tissue donor before death allows for individuals to have conversations with their family about their decision. Ultimately, deciding beforehand alleviates the burden of family members having to make the decision on their loved one’s behalf during a time of great grief and loss.

Can medical conditions prevent individuals from registering as organ and tissue donors?

No! While a medical condition may make the likelihood of donating lower, medical professionals can still evaluate individuals with these medical conditions at the time of their death to determine whether or not they are eligible. While certain organs or tissues may be ruled out due to the condition, there are an abundance of organs and tissues that may still be viable, including eyes. So, if you’re wondering who can donate organs after death, always know you can register and medical professionals will make the final eligibility decision.

What gender designation should you use when registering?

Please confirm when registering to be a donor that you are using your current legal gender designation – whether it is your birth gender or the result of a legal change in gender marker. Keeping your gender designation consistent on your documents including driver’s license and passport is important to having your decision honored. If the gender listed on the donor registration and current legal documents do not match, the registration cannot legally be considered a match and will not provide consent for donation for a potential donor. Did you know that Jude’s Law, named for Jude, a young transgender student, allows transgender and nonbinary Coloradans of any age to have accurate, reflective identification documents (IDs).

Please share your decision with your friends and your community. This may encourage them to sign up as a donor reminding them that one donor can save up to eight lives through organ donation. You can also get involved with Donor Alliance’s Advocates for Life volunteer program and join us in the donation awareness efforts as we educate and inspire others to register to be organ, eye and tissue donors.

Register online or when you obtain or renew your State ID or Driver License today!

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