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A Gift of Life: Organ Donation

Valentine's Day was also National Organ Donor Day. With more than 100,000 patients in need of a donor, consider the gift of life. About 6,000 transplants from living donors are performed each year.

You might have wondered about donating an organ -- either to a friend or relative who needs an organ right now, or by filling out an organ donor card.

Just about anyone, at any age, can become an organ donor. Anyone younger than 18 needs to have the consent of a parent or guardian.

For organ donation after death, a medical assessment will be done to determine what organs can be donated. Certain conditions, such as having HIV, actively spreading cancer, or severe infection would exclude organ donation.

Having a serious condition like cancer, HIV, diabetes, kidney disease, or heart disease can prevent you from donating as a living donor.

Let your transplant team know about any health conditions you have at the beginning of the process. Then they can decide whether you're a good candidate.

To donate your organs after death, you can either register with your state's donor registry (visit, or fill out an organ donor card when you get or renew your driver's license.

To become a living donor, you can either work directly with your family member or friend's transplant team, or contact a transplant center in your area to find out who's in need of an organ.

For more information, visit or the American Transplant Foundation.

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