1. Overview

Organ donation is when healthy organs and tissues from one person are transplanted into another person. In the UK every year, over 4,000 people receive donated organs and tissues, offering them a new lease of life.

There are three different ways to donate. These are:

  • brain stem death - This is where a person no longer has activity in their brain stem due to a severe brain injury.
  • circulatory death - This is the irreversible loss of function of the heart and lungs after a cardiac arrest from which the patient cannot or should not be resuscitated.
  • living donation – Donating organ or tissue while you are still alive.

It is possible for the organs and tissues below to be donated and subsequently transplanted:

  • Kidney
  • Heart
  • Liver
  • Lung
  • Pancreas
  • Small bowel
  • Cornea
  • Tissue and bone

It is your decision whether or not you would like to donate your organs after you die.

Once your decision is made, you can choose to:

  • Opt in – this is your decision to become a donor.
  • Do nothing – You will be treated as having no objection to being a donor and your consent will be deemed. 
  • Opt out – this is your decision not to become a donor.

You can register your decision on the Organ Donor Register quickly and easily online or over the phone. You can change your mind at any time.

Whatever you do, remember to speak to your family and friends about your choice so that they can support your decision after your death.