Understanding Donation & Transplantation

Organ, tissue and cornea donation is emotional for everyone who is touched by a donor’s amazing gift of new or improved life. Recipients are eternally grateful for a second chance. Living donors feel blessed to have helped someone close to them, or even a stranger. The families of deceased donors can take comfort in knowing that their loved one’s final act was a selfless gift of life. We hope you will take some time to learn about organ, tissue and cornea donation, so that you may be inspired to talk to your friends and family members about donation and transplantation and make A Pledge for Life.


  • CORE is one of 58 federally designated not-for-profit organ procurement organizations (OPOs) in the United States.
  • You can register as an organ donor through your state’s department of motor vehicles registry by indicating your decision on your driver’s license or state ID card, which is considered legal authorization for organ and tissue donation.
  • By donating organs, one individual can help up to eight people, while tissue donors can improve the lives of up to 75 people.
  • Each day, a million people await tissue and cornea transplants, while every 10 minutes someone new is added to the organ list.
  • The heart, kidney, pancreas, lungs, liver and intestines can all be transplanted as life-saving organs. Tissues such as bones, ligaments, and tendons are needed for vital surgical procedures to repair injured or diseased joints and bones. Corneas, heart valves and skin are also able to be donated.
  • Directed or designated donation for a friend or loved one is possible. Living donation is also an option. National organ allocation guidelines allow families of donors to elect recipients, typically family members or friends.
  • Organs are matched according to height, weight and blood type, followed by medical urgency and time on the transplant list. Those awaiting a transplant in that OPO’s service area are offered the opportunity for a transplant first. Following this, if there isn’t a match, the organs are offered regionally and then nationally based on need.
  • There are only a few medical rule-outs for organ donation. Everyone should register as a donor. Every potential donation is evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
  • Between 10,000 and 12,000 people die annually who are considered medically suitable for organ, tissue and cornea donation, yet only a fraction of them are donors.
  • Donation is a possibility only after all efforts to save the patient’s life have been exhausted, tests have been performed to confirm the absence of vital signs, and death has been declared.