Organ and tissue donation is one of the few opportunities people have to give the gift of life.
Organ and tissue transplantation is a modern medical miracle, through which thousands of lives are saved or enhanced each year. For organ and tissue donors and their families, it is a chance to give life, a chance to help others at a time when it may seem that so much has been taken away. For recipients, it is life.
Modern medicine and improved surgical techniques have increased survival rates for recipients but the need for organs and tissues remains greater than ever. That's why so many people have to wait for a transplant operation - and why some people die before a suitable organ can be found.
You can make a difference. By deciding to become a donor, you are choosing to someday offer someone else the promise of a brighter future.
Liver transplantation is a life-giving operation that replaces a diseased liver with a healthy, donated liver. In Canada, over 400 such transplants are performed every year.
Anyone, regardless of age or race, can donate organs and tissues. The age and health of a donor are not as important as the condition of the donor's organs and tissues.
A transplant team assesses the suitability of each donated organ and tissue and matches them with people waiting for an organ or tissue transplant.
Choosing to become an organ or tissue donor is a very personal decision but it is very important to share your feelings with your family or anyone else who might be involved with handling your affairs at the time of death.
Once you've shared your wishes with your family, sign a donor card as a written record of your decision. In most provinces, donor cards are mailed out with your driver’s license or are available with renewal of your health card. For more information, see ‘How to register your wish to become an organ donor’ below.
Just discard your organ donor card or obtain a new card and write your wishes on it. In cases where your wishes are stated on your health card or in a registry, you will need to obtain a new health card or re-register. Always make sure your family is aware of your wishes.
No. Everything that can be done will be done to save your life. The doctor looking after you cannot be a member of the transplant team or be associated with the proposed recipients in any way.
Yes. Organs and tissues are very carefully removed and incisions are closed with the same care provided to living persons. It will not be apparent to anyone viewing the body that organs or tissues have been donated.
By law, information about the donor or recipient is confidential.
To download a copy of our 'Gift of Life' brochure (which includes an organ donor card), please visit our Publication Library.
As the guidelines for how to register as an organ donor may vary by province, the following provides some preliminary information, contacts and links for more details.
To register your consent to be an organ and/or tissue donor, you can sign a registration card or register your wishes with the organ donor registry. For more information, visit the website
Northwest Territories & Nunavut
For information on how to register your consent to be organ and/or tissue donor, call 780-407-8411.
When you decide to be an organ and/or tissue donor and have discussed this with your family, you must register with the Organ Donor Registry in British Columbia using your BC Personal Health Number. Please contact BC Transplant at 604-877-2240 or 1-800-663-6189 or visit their website for more information.
Alberta launched the Organ and Tissue Donation Registry in April 2014. Click here to access MyHealth Alberta site with useful information on donation, frequently asked questions, and the portal to the Registry.
Health Cards are issued with an 'Organ and Tissue Donor' sticker and an Organ Donation Consent Card. Sign the Organ Donation Consent Card, place the sticker on your health card, then talk to your family about your decision. For more information, call Saskatchewan Health at 1-800-667-7551 or visit their website.
Once you have made the decision to be an organ and/or tissue donor and have discussed this with your family, visit Transplant Manitoba's signupforlife.ca to register.
In Ontario you can register your consent to organ and tissue donation online at www.beadonor.ca. You can also register in-person at ServiceOntario locations. Donor cards are no longer distributed in Ontario and those wishing to show their consent to donation are encouraged to register online.
Information on becoming an organ and/or tissue donor and a sticker to indicate your consent is distributed with all new Quebec Health Cards. To register your consent as an organ and/or tissue donor, visit the Transplant Quebec website
Register your consent to be an organ and/or tissue donor by checking the appropriate box on your Medicare change request/replacement /renewal form which is available at the Service New Brunswick website Medicare Change Request, Replacement and/or Renewal Form or call 1 888 762-8600. For more information, visit their website.
Once you’ve spoken with your family about your decision to be an organ and/or tissue donor, identify your consent by filling in the donor registration form with your Nova Scotia Health Card renewal. If your Health Card is not due to be renewed at this time, please contact the Organ Donor Registry Office at 902-496-7008 or 1-800-563-8880 for a registration form. For more information, visit the Legacy of Life website.
Prince Edward Island
Once you have made the decision to be an organ and/or tissue donor and have discussed this with your family, you can indicate your wish to become a donor by affixing a red sticker on your PEI Health Card. For more information, visit their website.
Newfoundland and Labrador
To register your consent to be an organ and/or tissue donor, call 709-777-6600 or Toll free 1-877-640-1110 , visit their website.