Organ and Tissue Donation
Register to Save Lives
Pennsylvania strongly supports organ and tissue donation because of its life-saving and life-enhancing opportunities. It saves tens of thousands of lives each year and helps many more recover from trauma, spinal injuries, burns, vision loss and more.
PennDOT has partnered with the Department of Health in cooperation with the Center for Organ Recovery and Education (CORE) and The Gift of Life Donor Program in an effort to promote organ and tissue donation awareness. Donation is strongly encouraged and voluntary.
Thousands die every year waiting for a donated organ. When just one person signs up to be an organ and tissue donor, he or she can potentially save up to eight lives through organ donation and enhance the lives of 75 others through tissue donation.
Vascularized Composite Allograft (VCA) is a rare and groundbreaking form of therapy that returns vital function and identity to people who have suffered a devastating injury or illness. The most commonly known types of VCAs are hand and face transplants. By Pennsylvania and Federal law, VCA requires a specific authorization and is never assumed as part of organ, eye and tissue donor registration.
Documents such as living wills, advance health care directives and powers of attorney can indicate preferences regarding organ and tissue donation, VCA and end-of-life care. Some choices for end-of-life care may not be compatible with donation. Physicians, attorneys and clergy can advise.
How to Register
When you visit any of PennDOT's Photo License Centers to get your photo taken for a driver's license or identification (ID) card, you may choose to have the "Organ Donor" designation printed on your product. Customers under the age of 18 are required to have consent of a parent or guardian. There is no additional fee to have this designation placed on your driver's license or ID card at the time the photo is taken.
You can also register online to become an organ donor. The entire process takes less than 90 seconds and has the potential to save or enhance many lives. Once the organ donor designation is added, you will receive a confirmation card, which must be carried with you until the time of your driver's license or identification card renewal.
If, after you have received your license or ID card, you decide to add or remove the "Organ Donor" designation before your license or ID card expires, you must fill out either form DL-80 (PDF) for a non-commercial driver's license, form DL-80CD (PDF) for a commercial driver's license or form DL-54B (PDF) for a photo ID card and pay the required fee to receive an updated product.
How Donation Works
Doctors and hospital personnel do everything in their power to save the lives of every patient. When a patient has died or is nearing death, hospitals are required by federal law to notify their local organ procurement organization (OPO). The OPO then evaluates the patient to determine if he or she is medically eligible for donation.
If the patient is an eligible donor, the OPO representative will review the state registry to see if the patient is enrolled as a donor. If so, that will serve as legal authorization. If the patient has not registered and there is no other legal authorization for donation, the OPO will seek authorization from the next of kin.
Through the entire donation process, the body is treated with care, respect, and dignity. An open casket funeral is usually possible for organ, eye, and tissue donors, but due to changes in appearance may not be with certain forms of VCA.
These sites provide additional information on how the donation process works, including causes of death, testing and recovery: https://www.donatelife.net/types-of-donation/deceased-donation/; https://www.core.org/understanding-donation/donation-process/; https://www.donors1.org/families-of-donors/about-organ-and-tissue-donation/
Support Saving Lives
You also have the opportunity to donate $1 to the Governor Robert P. Casey Memorial Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Trust Fund (formerly known as ODTF) with each motor vehicle, driver's license and photo ID card renewal. Donations can also be made at any time through the Department of Health. For information regarding contributions to the trust fund, visit the Department of Health or call 1-800-PA HEALTH.
For more information regarding organ and tissue donation, please contact: