Why Become a Donor?

Organ, eye and tissue donors offer recipients a second chance at life, but the need for donations is much greater than the number available — and every day more people are added to the waiting list.

About Us

Donate Life is the national brand for the cause of organ, eye and tissue donation in America. As strategic partners, KODA, Trust, LifeCenter and Eye Bank of Kentucky are the nonprofits dedicated to educating on the importance of donation and encouraging everyone to become registered donors in Kentucky. The Kentucky Donor Registry was first established in 2006. The National Donate Life Registry was first established in 2015.

Eleanor’s Story

Eleanor was on full life support after her birth in 2010. Tests revealed a congenital heart defect. Doctors said a transplant was the only option, and she was added to the national waiting list for a heart transplant. She is alive today because of organ donation. Eleanor’s parents know few details but have sent a letter of deep gratitude to their donor and family. Eleanor is now a big sister and a lively spirit to be around!

See more Gift of Life stories here.

A Growing Need For New Donors

Why Donate Life?

  • One organ donor can save up to eight lives
  • One tissue donor can heal more than 50 lives
  • Every year over 1,000 Kentuckians have eyesight restored through a cornea transplant
  • Donor families receive grief care through our Aftercare Program

Did You Know?

All major religions in the United States support organ, eye and tissue donation.

One of the biggest myths is that donation is against some religions. In fact, the major U.S. religions regard donation positively as a final act of love, charity and generosity.

Wealthy and famous people have to wait, just like everyone else.

The misperception that celebrities receive transplants more often is just a result of how much more attention is paid to their lives, as opposed to the public.

Anyone, at any age, can be considered for organ donation.

There are no age limits. Parents or guardians must authorize donation for a deceased donor under age 18. The oldest donor in America was 92 and saved one life through the gift of a liver transplant.

Need For Donors

What Can I Donate?

Organ Donation

Organs that can be donated include: kidneys, heart, liver, lungs, pancreas and small intestine. There are various organs on the list, for a variety of transplant needs. Today, approximately 104,000 Americans, 1,000 Kentuckians and 1,200 Hoosiers are awaiting one of these lifesaving organs. Learn about the process of donation.

One organ donor can save up to eight lives.

Eye Donation

Cornea transplant is the most common of all transplants performed, exceeding 46,000 per year in the United States. Thanks to advances in pharmacology, medical instruments, and surgical techniques, cornea transplants exceed a 95% success rate.

The cornea protects the eye from dust and germs and is responsible for focusing. Leading causes for transplant: Hereditary, glaucoma, injury including burns and abrasions, disease and infection.

Tissue Donation

Bone, cartilage, fascia, heart valves, ligaments, pericardium, skin, tendons, and veins are all included with tissue donation. One tissue donor can heal more than 75 lives. These donations are used for many reasons to save and heal recipients:

  • Burn victims: The gift of skin is recovered from a donor and used as a biological bandage, preventing infection and allowing the recipient to heal until their own skin can grow back.
  • Cancer patients: Bone tumors, which would have required amputation in the past, are now replaceable due to donated bone. Bone can also be used in spinal surgeries, hip replacements, and dental surgery.
  • Babies: Donated heart valves are often used to save the lives of babies born with defects and heart conditions.
  • Athletes: Donated ligaments and tendons often help restore mobility for athletes with an irreversible injury.

Living Donation

Living donors can provide many types of organs, most often kidneys, but also segments of the liver and lung.

Separate from the Donor Registry, living donation is not included when you register to become an organ, eye and tissue donor online or at the driver’s license office. If you are interested in becoming a living donor, contact a hospital transplant program to be evaluated and supported through the process.