How does Organ Donation Work in the United States?

Donating an organ can be an emotional and intricate journey that begins with one person – the organ donor. 

Most commonly in the US, people decide to become organ donors upon their death. In most states, you can choose to donate your organs when you renew your driver’s license. 

In the event that you have a severe head injury, a stroke, or any other life-threatening event the medical team responding will begin life-saving efforts on the scene. 



Upon arrival at the hospital, nurses and doctors will continue their lifesaving efforts and continue to help your heartbeat. If they are unable to continue to support the patient through artificial means, they will then determine if the patient is suitable to have their organs donated. 

The hospital staff will then discuss the organ donation process with the family.

Upon death, hospital staff will then enter the patient’s specifics such as blood type, height, and weight into the donor matching system to begin to search for a potential match.

The patient will then be brought into the surgery where their organs will be removed and sent to candidates who are anxiously awaiting them.

After completion, the donor will then be taken to the funeral home where the family can fulfill the funeral wishes.

Contrary to popular belief, an open casket is possible for someone who has chosen organ donation.