A question we get asked occasionally is whether a person can sell their organs or receive some form of financial incentive for donating them.

In short, the answer is NO.

Selling Organs in the United States is Illegal

In fact, it’s illegal to sell organs and tissues for transplants in the United States. The National Organ Transplant Act, which was passed in 1984, makes it illegal to sell or buy human organs and tissues in the United States. Selling organs and tissues is a crime and violators are subject to fines and imprisonment.

Why is it illegal to sell organs?

According to the Health Resources and Services Administration, “One reason Congress made this law was to make sure the wealthy do not have an unfair advantage for obtaining donated organs and tissues”. (Source: OPTN white paper on bioethics—Financial Incentives for Organ Donation, June 30, 1993).

The Uniform Anatomical Gift Act Describes Organ, Eye & Tissue Donation as a Gift

In addition, the Uniform Anatomical Gift Act (UAGA), the federal act that provides legal authority for organ, eye and tissue donation defines a gift as “a voluntary and legally binding uncompensated transfer.” The UAGA allows individuals to make the legal decision to gift their organs and tissues after death and establishes donor registries such as the Donate Life Colorado and the Donate Life Wyoming Organ and Tissue Donor Registries as a valid document of gift.

Being an Organ, Eye and Tissue Donor is an Altruistic Decision

Organ, eye and tissue donation is the ultimate act of kindness one can do for another human being. Financial incentives for donating organs and tissues are not only in direct conflict with the altruistic and generous nature of organ, eye and tissue donation, but are also against federal law as established by the National Organ Transplant Act.

Throughout the years, Donor Families in Colorado and Wyoming have expressed a profound appreciation for the gift of life their loved ones gave to those in need. Here are a few words they have


Amy, donor mother holding a photo of her daughter

shared with us:

“With time, I have realized what a great impact this unspeakably tragic event has had. With the gifts from my sister Perri, three lives were saved and many others have been changed. To me, there is nothing more special than the gift of life.” Kelly, Donor Brother

“I feel that I, too, am living again since Nicole’s death. Knowing Nicole saved so many lives through her gifts, I feel such peace and calmness in my heart.” Amy, Donor Mother

People on the Waiting List Rely on the Generosity of Organ, Eye and Tissue Donors

Did you know there are nearly 1,300 people waiting for a lifesaving transplant in our region? Without the generosity of donors and their families who say Yes to donation the gift of life wouldn’t be possible. One single donor can save up to eight lives through organ donation and save or heal more than 75 lives through tissue donation.

Organ and Tissue Donation is a Gift

Organ and tissue donation is a generous and selfless gift. You have the power to give the gift of life and save lives by signing up to be an organ, eye and tissue donor when you renew or obtain your driver license or state ID. But don’t wait to make a lifesaving decision! Say Yes today to saving lives at DonateLifeColorado.org or DonateLifeWyoming.org.

Related Articles