Organ Donation

Frequently Asked Questions about Organ Donation

1. How can I be assured my donation decision will be carried out?

First, register with the Michigan Organ Donor Registry. You may register online at; in person at your local Secretary of State office or by calling Gift of Life at (800) 482-4881. Once registered, you will receive a heart sticker to place on your license indicating you are registered with the state’s donor database. This registry consents for all organs. Second, discuss your wishes with your family and/or patient advocate. You may also fill out the generic organ donor form to keep with your personal papers or to specify certain organs and/or tissues to donate.

2. Can the next of kin or patient advocate consent to a donation if the deceased family member has not registered as an organ donor or made any provision for organ donation?

Yes. The Public Health Code (PA 368 of 1978) and the Estates and Protected Individuals Code (PA 386 of 1998) provide for this opportunity.

3. Can my donation decision be included in a Will?

Yes. However, since organ donations must occur promptly, this is normally ineffective because wills are rarely read, let alone probated, until long after the time for the organ donation has passed.

4. Who can be a donor?

Almost anyone. Poor health, poor eyesight, and age do not prohibit you from becoming a donor. However, some of these factors do influence the likelihood of the tissues being suitable for transplant. Organs and tissues that cannot be used for transplants, however, can often be used for research to help scientists find cures or better treatments for serious illness.

5. Will donation affect my funeral arrangements?

No. The donation is performed within hours after death, so funeral arrangements may proceed as planned. Removal of organs leaves no visible signs that would interfere with a normal open casket viewing.

6. Will my family pay or receive any fees for donation?

No. It is illegal to buy or sell the human body, its eyes, organs, and tissues.

7. Will the quality of medical treatment be affected if one is a known donor?

Strict laws protect the potential donor. Legal guidelines must be followed before death can be certified. The physician certifying a patient’s death cannot be involved in any way with the donation or with the transplant.

8. how can I obtain more information regarding organ, tissue, and eye donation?

Contact the Gift of Life Michigan on the web at or toll-free at (800) 482-4881 for organ and tissue donations. For eye donations, contact the Michigan Eye Bank on the web at or toll-free at (800) 247-7250. Your local Secretary of State office also has donation information available.