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Planning to Be an Organ and Tissue Donor Upon Death


Some people who are critically ill need an organ transplant to live. But there are a lot more organs needed than are available. Many people choose to donate organs or tissue upon their death.

  • If you decide to become an organ donor, you won't be denied life-saving care when you need it. Provincial laws and emergency medical practices ensure that your life comes first.
  • If you have questions about organ donation, talk to your doctor, a trusted friend, or your faith leader.
  • Most religions allow organ donation.

How can you be an organ donor?

The following tips can help you plan to be an organ donor.

  • Get more information.
  • Most people can be organ and tissue donors. If you are interested in donating organs or tissues, go to the Canadian Blood Services Organs and Tissues for Life webpage ( to register.
  • Put your name on your province's donor registry.

    Many provinces give you the option to become a donor when you apply for a driver's licence or when you renew your licence. Other provinces have a form you can fill out in person or online and file with your provincial organ donor registry. Either way, your name goes on a list of possible donors, and your status is noted on your driver's licence or provincial health care card. If you are interested in donating organs or donating tissues after your death, you can add your name to the Alberta Organ and Tissue Donation Registry.

  • Let your family, friends, and doctor know.

    Include your wish to be an organ donor when you prepare an advance care plan.

People of any age can register to be organ donors. In many provinces there's no minimum age, though an adult might have to sign for someone under age 18. There may be an upper age limit, depending on your province and the type of organ.

What organs can you donate?

You can choose what organs and tissues you would like to offer for donation. Or you can choose to donate any organs that are needed. You can also choose to donate for transplant, for research, or for educational purposes.

Organs to donate include:

  • Heart.
  • Liver.
  • Pancreas (islet cells).
  • Lungs.
  • Kidneys.
  • Intestines.

Tissues to donate include:

  • Amniotic membrane.
  • Corneas.
  • Skin.
  • Bone.
  • Blood vessels.
  • Connective tissues, such as tendons, ligaments, and cartilage.
  • Heart valves.

Blood products include:

  • Bone marrow.
  • Stem cells.


Adaptation Date: 8/17/2023

Adapted By: Alberta Health Services

Adaptation Reviewed By: Alberta Health Services

Adapted with permission from copyrighted materials from Healthwise, Incorporated (Healthwise). This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any warranty and is not responsible or liable for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.