Can celebrities or wealthy people use their money and influence to buy an organ or be placed at the top of the waiting list?

No. Income and celebrity status are not considered when determining who receives an organ. Also, it is a federal crime to buy or sell organs and tissues in the United States. Donor organs are matched to potential recipients by blood type, tissue type, size, medical urgency, time on waiting list and geographic location through a national computerized waiting list operated by the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS).

Is information about organ, eye and tissue donation portrayed accurately in movies/on TV?

No. While organ, eye and tissue donation involves saving lives in the real world, the entertainment industry often invents false situations and perpetuates misconceptions about donation by using dramatization and sensationalism. 

How do I sign up to be an organ, eye, and tissue donor in Kentucky?

Register your decision in the Donor Registry by:

  1. Saying “yes” to organ donation when you obtain or renew your driver’s license or state identification card at the Circuit Court Clerk’s Office.
  2. Going to RegisterMe.org.
  3. Completing form in the Medical ID tab of your iPhone Health App.

Once you have registered your decision, it is important to discuss your wishes about donation with your family so that they are aware of the generous choice you have made.

Is it necessary to enter my decision to donate in the Kentucky Donor Registry?

Yes, the Kentucky Donor Registry ensures that a person’s desire to be a donor is honored after death. All recovery organizations are directed by law to inform the next of kin of the decision to donate and to work with the donor’s family to honor this wish. This eliminates the need for a family to make a major decision about donation during their time of grief when they may not know, or be able to recall clearly, what their loved one had wanted.

What if I change my mind about donating?

At any point in time, you can update your personal information or remove yourself from the Kentucky Donor Registry by going into your personal record.  Removing your name from the state registry is a permanent removal. 

To update or remove your name:

  1. Go to www.RegisterMeKY.org.  
  2. Click “Change Registration”
  3. Log-in with your Driver’s License Number and Zip Code of when you first registered.
  4. Once in your record, you may edit your information or click “Not a Donor” to update your decision and no longer be a registered donor


  1. Call the Trust For Life at 1-866-945-5433
  2. Leave a voicemail including your driver’s license number, date of birth, and name. 
  3. Staff will go into your record for you and click “Not a Donor”
Is it possible for my family to deny donation if I’m registered?

No. When an individual registers, it’s treated like a will. Families cannot overturn your decision to donate if it’s possible and you are registered. Kentucky is a first person consent state.

Can I still choose to donate if I am younger than 18 years of age?

Yes, you may join the Kentucky Donor Registry as long as you have a state identification card, driver’s license or permit—although parental authorization is not needed for individuals under 18, a parent may revoke the decision upon a minor’s death.

What if members of my family are opposed to donation?

Once a person turns 18, the decision to say “yes” is considered a legal, advanced directive. You should still inform your family of your decision. Upon your death, the recovery organization will inform them of your decision to be a donor and will involve them in the donation process, but will not ask them for authorization.

What is brain death, and can you recover from it?

All deaths occur from cessation of cardiopulmonary (heart-lung) function or from the cessation of brain function. Brain death occurs when a person has an irreversible, catastrophic brain injury, which causes all brain activity to permanently stop. You can never recover from brain death. Brain damage means there are some portions of the brain still functioning, meaning that person is not brain dead. In brain death cases, the heart and lungs can continue to function if artificial-support machines are used.

However, these functions will cease when the machines are discontinued. The standards for determining that someone is brain dead are strict. After cardiac death, an individual has the potential to be an eye and tissue donor and, on occasion, an organ donor.

What can be donated and how many lives can be changed?

Organs that can be donated include: kidneys, heart, liver, lungs, pancreas and small intestine. Tissue that can be donated includes: heart valves, corneas, skin, bone, ligaments, tendons, fascia, veins and nerves.

One organ donor can save up to eight lives. One tissue donor can heal more than 75 lives.