Learn About Donation

Frequently Asked Questions

There are many myths and misperceptions about organ and tissue donation stemming from cultural beliefs, distrust of the medical establishment, and even urban legends. For the nearly 4,000 New Jersey residents waiting for a life-saving transplant, sharing the correct information is a matter of life and death. 

Will my own medical care be compromised if the hospital is aware that I have an organ donor designation on my license?

No. The decision to be an organ donor will in no way affect the level of medical care for a sick or injured person. The team of doctors and nurses involved in treating the patient is not involved with the recovery/transplant team, which is called only after death has occurred.

Are there additional costs to be an organ and/or tissue donor?

There is never a charge to the family or estate of the donor for organ and tissue recovery. All associated recovery costs are paid by NJ Sharing Network. It is an altruistic gift and by law, NJ Sharing Network is not able to pay for any other funeral or hospital charges unrelated to the donation process.

Will the donation impact traditional funeral services?

The cause and circumstances of death could have an impact on timing and funeral arrangements. It is important to work with an experienced funeral director. During the recovery procedure, the utmost care and respect is given to the donor’s body and every effort is made to meet your needs. Donated organs and tissues are removed by skilled medical professionals in a sterile surgical procedure.

Can organ transplants be “bought” by the wealthy and powerful?

No. Organs are computer matched according to compatibility of donor and recipient tissue, determined by various tests, waiting time, and the medical need of the recipient. Social or financial data are not part of the computer database and therefore, are not factors in the determination of who receives an organ.

Do all religions support organ and tissue donation?

Most religions support donation and consider it the greatest gift a person can give.

Registering as an organ and tissue donor:

How do I register as an organ and tissue donor?

Click here to register as an organ and tissue donor on the National Donate Life Registry.

Is registering as an organ and tissue donor on this site the same as registering at my local MVC?

When you register as an organ and tissue donor through the NJ Sharing Network site, you are registering on the National Donate Life Registry. When you register through your local MVC, you are registering on the NJ state registry. Regardless of which you choose, you will be registered as an organ and tissue donor. Advantages of registering on the National Donate Life Registry are that your donor designation will travel with you across state lines, has no expiration date and does not need to be renewed. If you register on the NJ state registry, you will need to renew your donor designation every time you renew your driver license or state issued ID.

When I register as an organ and tissue donor, what am I authorizing?

The National Donate Life Registry authorizes the recovery of organs, eyes and tissues for transplant. If organs are not suitable for donation at the time of death, the family will have the option to donate to research.

Do I have to be 18 to register?

You may register as a donor if you are under 18. Such a registration is considered intent, not authorization, to donate. If a minor is ever in a position to be an actual donor, the family's permission will we be required. Once the minor turns 18, he/she will be contacted and asked to update his/her record. If this step is complete, the registration will be considered full legal authorization. If not, the document of gift will be noted as registered while under 18 years old and as such will be considered intent to donate, which will be shared with the family.

Is there an age limit for donation?

There is no definitive age limit for organ donation. Organs from donors as young as a few days to adults in their 90s have been successfully transplanted. A patient’s medical history is more important than the age of the donor. If a patient has a normal functioning organ and is in good health, then organ donation can be an option.

How do I change my donor designation?

If you registered on the National Donate Life Registry, you can access your donor record by visiting www.registerme.org and clicking the blue “Edit Registration” button. You will be asked to enter a few key data fields (e.g., name, address, last 4 of SSN) to log in to your donor record and can then update your designation.

If you registered at an MVC and wish to change your donor designation, a Change of Status form is available for download at https://www.state.nj.us/mvc/drivertopics/organdonor.htm. To change your organ donor status on your driver's license or non-driver ID card, please visit a motor vehicle agency.

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Chapter 1 - The Decision To Donate Will Not Impact the Medical Care for a Sick or Injured Person


Chapter 2 - Funeral Arrangements


Chapter 3 - Religious Perspective 


Chapter 4 - Factors Impacting Organ Donation and Transplantation

Chapter 5 - Living Donation