Frequently Asked Questions
What does it mean to register as an organ donor at the MVA? You are joining the official Maryland Donor Registry. This allows Maryland residents to register their authorization to donate all or specific organs and tissues upon their death.
Can my family override my decision to donate? Your donor designation grants authorization for organ, eye and tissue recovery for transplantation, research or therapy. Should you be in the position to donate, your next of kin will be presented with documentation of your registration but will not have the power to override your decision.
At what age can someone register as a donor? The official Maryland Donor Registry allows Maryland residents who are at least 18 years of age to register their authorization to donate all or specific organs and tissues upon their death. Minors between the ages of 13 and 17 can join the Maryland Donor Registry, but until the designated donor is 18 years old, parents or a legal guardian will make the final decision about organ, eye and tissue donation at the appropriate time.
Who can be an organ, eye and tissue donor? Everyone is considered a potential donor regardless of age or pre-existing medical condition. Each potential organ, eye and tissue donor is evaluated on an individual basis for suitability.
Can I specify organs/tissues that can be transplanted or used for research? If you sign up at the MVA, your drivers license number acts as your Registration ID number. At any time, you may visit www.DonateLifeMaryland.org, enter your login information, click on Update Your Donation Wishes and specify donation limitations.
Does my registration grant consent for whole body donation? Registering with Donate Life Maryland does not grant permission for your body to be donated to medical schools. There are separate organizations that exist for whole body donation. It is possible to become both an organ, eye and tissue donor as well as consent to whole body donation.
Get the Facts
Organ donation is an important decision and it helps to know the facts.
FACT: If you are sick or injured, the primary duty of emergency responders and hospital staff is to save your life. Your donor designation NEVER interferes with your medical care.
FACT: Only Donate Life Maryland professionals have access to the official Maryland Donor Registry.
FACT:: The medical team involved in the organ donation process are completely separate from hospital staff working to save someone’s life in the emergency room.
FACT: Organ and tissue donation is only discussed with the family after a patient has been declared dead.
FACT: Anyone can be an organ donor regardless of age, race or medical history.
FACT: All major religions support organ, eye and tissue donation and see it as the ultimate act of charity.
FACT: When patients are on the waiting list for an organ transplant, their position on that list is based on the severity of their illness, time spent waiting, blood type and other important medical information. Social and financial status are never a factor in this process.
FACT: An open casket funeral is possible for organ, eye and tissue donors. Through the entire donation process, the body is treated with care, dignity and respect.
FACT: In the United States, it is illegal to buy or sell organs or tissue for transplantation.
FACT: There is no cost to the donor’s family or estate for donation. The donor family only pays for medical expenses before death and costs associated with funeral arrangements.
How Do I Register?
Registering as an organ, eye and tissue donor is easy! Below are the different ways you can register, pick the method that is easiest for you.
QR Code for Smartphone Scan this QR code with your smartphone to go directly to the mobile site for www.DonateLifeMaryland.org where you can sign up now as an organ, eye and tissue donor.
At Any MVA Branch You can join the Donate Life Maryland Registry by visiting any Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration branch. The transaction is done at Drivers’ Services and can be added to your drivers license or state identification card. Persons designating through the MVA will have a ‘heart’ appearing on their license/ID card.
Online, Mail-In or Kiosk Renewal Register as a donor when you renew your license/state identification card online, in-person, through mail-in or the kiosk. Just say “yes” when asked about organ donation. Persons designating through the MVA will have a ‘heart’ appearing on their license/ID card.
Online, Email & Mail Registration Visit www.DonateLifeMaryland.org to register as a donor, update your registration or specify organs, eyes and tissues for transplantation and/or research. Persons who register online will not have a ‘heart’ appearing on their license or state identification card but will still be part of the official Maryland Donor Registry. You can also request a registration form to be sent via email or mail, send your request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Share Your Decision Tell your family and friends about your decision to be an organ, eye and tissue donor. Although most people do not like to discuss end of life decisions, it is best to share your wishes with loved ones now.