About Donation


Did you know that each organ, eye and tissue donor has the potential to save up to 8 lives through organ donation and up to 75 lives through tissue donation!

Organ Donation

The heart, lungs, pancreas, kidneys, liver and intestines offer hope to those on the organ transplant waiting list. Donated organs restore health and extend life for those whose own organs are failing.

Tissue Donation

Eye and tissue donation is an incredible gift that heals many people in the United States each year. From heart valves that repair congenital heart defects to ligaments that restore mobility and corneas that give the gift of sight, tissue and eye donation offers hope and healing for many.

Tissue and eye recovery teams perform the recovery and send the donated tissue to one of our partners who prepare the tissue for the lifesaving or life-healing transplantation.



Organ, eye and tissue donation is the process of recovering organs, eyes, and tissues from a deceased person and transplanting them into others in order to save the lives or improve the health of those in need. Up to eight lives can be saved through organ donation, and another 75 lives or more may be improved through tissue donation.

There are currently more than 115,000 people in the U.S. waiting for organ transplants. Each year, approximately 8,000 people die waiting for an organ transplant that would have given them a second chance at life. Additionally, each year hundreds of thousands of people benefit from donated tissue that is used for life-saving and reconstructive purposes, and corneas that restore sight.

Yes. Donation saves lives every day. Hundreds of Marylanders have organ transplants each year and receive a second chance at life. Many Marylanders die every week waiting for the gift of an organ that does not come.

By becoming an organ, eye and tissue donor at DonateLifeMaryland.org one person can donate a heart, two parts of a liver, two kidneys, two lungs, intestine and a pancreas. One tissue donor can enhance the lives of more than 75 people.

Living donation is when a living person donates an organ or part of an organ to another person. The living donor may be a relative, friend, spouse or an in-law. Or, the donor may be a stranger that has volunteered to help someone else. Living donation usually involves one of these organs: a segment of the liver, the lobe of one lung, a kidney, or a portion of the pancreas. Living donation is an alternative for individuals awaiting organ transplantation from a deceased donor. You can find more information on living donation here.

No. Donation costs nothing for the donor or the donor’s family. While the family will receive a hospital bill for any lifesaving efforts that took place for their family loved one, if that patient dies and becomes a donor, all charges related to the donation process are billed to the organ, eye or tissue recovery agency.

There can be an open casket funeral, viewing or other standard memorial after donation. The donor is treated with utmost respect and dignity. The recovery of organs and tissues is conducted under standard, sterile conditions in an operating room, and the body is fully reconstructed once organs and tissues are removed. The family will make the funeral arrangements in the usual fashion. All funeral costs remain the responsibility of the family. Any costs that may be associated with donation are paid for by the organ, eye or tissue recovery agency.

No. Your decision to be a donor will be honored. The Maryland Uniform Anatomical Gift act states that family permission is not required when you have documented your decision to donate. While it is still helpful for family members to know what you want, their permission will be sought only if your decision is not registered, either through the DMV or online at DonateLifeMaryland.org. Those under the age of 18 can indicate their wishes to donate, but parents and guardians by law must make that decision.

Organs and tissues that are not recovered for transplant may be used for medical research if the donor (or family) authorizes it. Non-transplantable organs and tissues help researchers every day find new ways to treat disease. A gift of organs and tissues for research can affect untold numbers of patients who benefit from the medical advances that result from their use in the laboratory. Virtually every disease that plagues mankind is being studied today with the help of donated human organs and tissues that cannot be transplanted.

Donated organs and tissues may be used for the purpose of transplantation, research education or therapy. You cannot specify at the time you register at the MVA. That process simply puts the heart on your driver’s license and puts your general donation decision in the Registry. The Uniform Anatomical Gift Act specifies that the Maryland Donor Registry will give you the option to decide which organs and/or tissues will be used for each purpose. If you register your decision at DonateLifeMaryland.org, you can check the “Specify Donations” box, which will take you to a page listing organs and tissues for transplantation, research, education and therapy.

If you have registered via the MVA, you may go to the Donor Registry website, click on “Update My Info,” enter your log in information, and then specify your donation decisions.

The identity of all parties is kept confidential until both parties agree to release identifying information to the other. The donor family and the transplant recipient may receive such information as age, gender, and state of residence. Individually, the recipient may be told the circumstances of death, and the donor family may be informed of the transplants that were performed and receive feedback on how the health and lives of the recipients have improved. The organ, eye and tissue recovery agencies facilitate correspondence and meetings initiated by either the donor family or the recipient at any time, but only if both parties agree to it.

2020 Donate Life Maryland. All rights reserved. Our Privacy Policy.