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Commonly Asked Questions About Being an Organ Donor

Each year, thousands of lives are saved and improved through organ donation. Maybe you are considering registering to become an organ donor but still have a few questions, or, perhaps you are already a registered organ donor but are still curious. Todd Groeber, RN, a nursing supervisor at Abington – Jefferson Health, offers answers to some common questions about organ donation.


Is there an age limit for organ donors?

“Age is not a determining factor when it comes to organ donation and the eligibility of a donor,” Groeber explains. “In fact, I have heard stories of organ donations coming from patients in their 80s,” says Groeber. “It all comes down to organ function and patient needs. That is the determining factor.”

What organs can a living donor donate?

A living donor can donate a kidney, a portion of their liver, pancreas or intestine, blood and bone marrow. “It is sometimes forgotten that an organ donation can come from a living donor, and it should be noted that living donors are so important and selfless,” Groeber says. According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, 6,831 living donors helped save and improve the lives of others in 2018.

Does the family of a deceased donor have to take responsibility for costs accrued during the donation process?

“Absolutely not,” says Groeber.  The family of a deceased patient is never responsible for the costs accrued during the organ donation process. “You can rest assured that by being an organ donor, you are helping another person without burdening your family with the cost.”

Can someone who has had cancer be an organ donor?

“Organ viability is determined on a case-by-case basis, including in patients who have had cancer,” Groeber explains. “Having cancer previously does not automatically make you ineligible to be an organ donor.”

How many lives can be saved or improved through organ and tissue donation?

According to the Gift of Life Donor Program, one organ donor can save up to eight people and one tissue donor can help as many as 75 people.

How can tissue donation improve someone's life?

“People sometimes don’t realize how important tissue donation is. For instance, tissue donation can greatly improve the lives of burn victims or someone who suffers from eye disease,” Groeber explains. “Tissue can also help someone who is suffering from traumatic bone injury.”

Register today to become an organ donor and say “yes” to saving lives.

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