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How to Talk to Your Kids About Organ and Tissue Donation

We know that it can be difficult to start the conversation about your decision to be an organ, eye and tissue donor in general. It can be even more difficult when the conversation is between you and your kids. To help make starting that conversation a bit easier, we’re breaking down when and how to best talk to your teens as they get ready to apply for a driver permit or license.

How it Works:

When your teen applies for their driver permit or license, they will be asked:

  • Would you like to register as an organ, eye and tissue donor?

In Colorado, they will then be asked an additional question:

  • Would you like to make a donation to the Emily Keyes-John W. Buckner Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Fund?

As their parent or legal guardian, you will have to sign as well to give consent for your teen to register as an organ, eye and tissue donor. Once they turn 18 their decision will become a first-person authorization as other adults. So this is a great time to ensure they understand the importance of and facts around donation. Most importantly that signing up to be a donor means you have made the decision to save lives by donating eligible organs, eyes, and tissues at the time of death.

Preparing Your Teen to Make a Decision before their Driver License Office Visit:

  • Use your driver license to start the conversation.
    • If you have a heart on your license: Many of our volunteers have shared that they started the conversation with their teens because their child asked them why there was a heart on it. Turn the question around and ask your teen if they know why there is a heart on the license. This is a great conversation starter.
    • If you don’t have a heart but are registered: Your driver license is still a great prop to use to begin the conversation. Explain why there isn’t a heart on your license, how/when you registered and what you intend to do the next time you renew your license.
    • If you aren’t registered: Your driver license is still a great prop to use to begin the conversation.
  • Share a story about organ or tissue donation or transplantation.
    • If you know someone who is a recipient: Share the story of a family member, friend, co-worker, neighbor or someone else you know who received an organ or tissue transplant. Did you know that many tissue grafts are used in different reconstructive surgeries such as ACL replacement, skin grafts for burn patients and coronary bypass? You may know someone who is recipient and not even know it!
    • If you know someone who was a donor: Share the story of donation and how a loved one saved lives. This is the most impactful way for teens to understand why organ and tissue donation is life-saving.
    • If you don’t know a recipient: Read our stories of hope. Organ and tissue transplants are life-saving and our volunteers have shared why.
  • Use the resources on our websites: