and tissue donation allows you to give the gift of life to others after
your life has ended. Body donation allows you to help advance medical
teaching and research for the benefit of future generations. Washington State law supports an individual's decision to donate upon
death. You may register as an organ or tissue donor through the
Department of Licensing when you receive your driver's license or through
the Washington state registry.
Question #1 Who can become a donor?
Answer: Anyone who is 18 or older and
of sound mind may become a donor when he or she dies. Minors may become
donors with a parent's or guardian's consent.
Question #2 Will my decision interfere with my
own health care?
Answer: No. Medical personnel must
follow strict guidelines before they can pronounce death and remove the
donor's organs and tissues. Organ and tissue donors receive the same
health care as non-donors
#3 How will medical personnel know that I am a donor?
Answer: Medical personnel will know by
your carrying of a " Donor Card". You should distribute copies to your
family, doctors, funeral home that holds your pre-arranged services and
Question #4 Who pays for the donation
Answer: The organ donation programs,
funded through health care, pay for all costs involved in the organ
donation and recovery.
Question #5 How are the organs and tissues
The distributions of organs is handled by regional organ banks which
are linked to a national computer network that allows them to speed the
process of matching organ donors and recipients. Tissue distribution is
coordinated by various tissue banks throughout the country.
#6 Does my age or medical history matter?
Answer: Although most programs do have
age restrictions for organs, it should not influence your decision to
become a donor. The transplant team will decide at the time of donation
whether the organs or tissues are useful for donation. If the organs or
tissues can't be transplanted, it is possible that the organs or tissues
may be helpful in medical research.
Question #7 Will I have to change my funeral
Answer: Within reason, organ donation
does not delay funeral arrangements or disfigure the body, so no changes
will be needed in your funeral plans. If you plan to donate your body for
medical research, you should be sure to arrange all of the details with
your local anatomical board.
Can I change my mind about becoming a donor
Answer: Absolutely, simply tear up
your donor card. Anyone that you have told about your donation request
should be notified of this change. Tell family members, doctors, funeral
home, and if you have made arrangements to have your status indicated on
your driver's license be sure to contact the driver's license office to
have your status changed.
Informing your family and caregivers
Sharing your decision to be an organ, tissue or body donor with
your family is as important as making the decision itself. At the time of
your death, your family will be approached about donation. Sharing your
decision with your family now will help them understand your intent to
become a donor. This will also prevent confusion or uncertainty about your
wishes. Respecting your wish to save other lives can provide your family
with great comfort in their time of grief.
Joining the Donor Registry
Transplantation is one of the most remarkable success stories in the
history of medicine. In most cases, it's the only hope for thousands of
people suffering from organ failure, or in desperate need of corneas,
skin, bone or other tissue. Tragically, the need for donated organs and
tissues continues to outpace the supply. Currently, more than 100,000
people nationwide are awaiting life-saving transplants. Each day, 18
Americans die waiting for organ or tissue transplantation. Make your
wishes known by joining the Washington state donor registry at
Donate Life Today or by calling 1-877-275-5269.
About University of Washington Willed Body Program
Even if you are not a possible candidate for organ or tissue
donation, it is very likely that the donation of your body would be
accepted by the UW School of Medicine for medical teaching and
research. If you choose to donate your body to the University of
Washington, the school provides free cremation of your body when their
study is complete. If it is your desire to become a donor to the
Willed Body Program it
is advisable to contact them in advance and complete the Donor
Other Programs that offer free Cremation for Body Donation
There are other programs that offer free cremation with the
donation of your body, however we think you should be aware of some
things before you choose a program which is not one of the established,
reputable, nonprofit organizations listed on this page. True nonprofits
have a public board of directors and financial transparency. While the
sale of bodies and body parts is illegal, it is legal to charge handling
fees that can amount to as much as $20,000 per body. If the organization
you choose is not a true
nonprofit, that "free cremation" may ultimately line someone
else's pocket. Is that really how you want your final gift to be used?
Other reputable sites regarding organ and tissue donation:
LifeCenter Northwest is
one of 58 federally designated nonprofit organ procurement organizations
in the US.
LifeCenter Northwest is the organ
and tissue program that services Alaska, Montana, North Idaho, and
Washington. In 2009, LifeCenter Northwest facilitated 119 organ donors
and 155 tissue donors, saving the lives of 369 people.
Visit their website today! http://www.lcnw.org/