Get your cape ready for the 9th annual Donate Life Hero Run on Sept. 15 in Durham! Register here!

Frequently Asked Questions

You have questions. We have answers!

Listed below are the most commen questions we receive about organ, eye and tissue donation. We hope you find this information helpful.

Don't see your question here? Email us at or call us (we love to hear from you!) at 919-964-3562.

Can I be a donor?

Anyone from newborns to senior citizens can be organ, eye and tissue donors. You can be a donor, even if you have been sick, had cancer in the past or have HIV or Hepatitis C.

If you are between 16 and 18, your parents would make the ultimate decision, but you can still have that cute, red heart on your license!

Ready to get started? Register HERE

How do I join/unjoin the registry?

You have several ways to join the registry:

  1. Join the registry at your nearest DMV office
  2. Register yourself online HERE
  3. If you have an iphone with iOS 10, you can register from your phone using the Health app!

If you want to remove yourself from the registry, click HERE and enter your driver’s license and date of birth.

What can my family expect if I am a donor?

The first thing your family can expect is gratitude. Medical professionals and transplant teams understand the absolute generosity and significance of your gift to others. Typically, your family can expect the following to occur:

  • A member of the transplant team will talk to your family about your decision and collect some medical history, very similar to donating blood or bone marrow.
  • Your family will be given time to say goodbye.
  • Your family can plan final arrangements as they would otherwise. Open casket funerals are still possible with organ donation.
  • Your family will be thanked on your behalf for giving the gift of life to others.
  • If they wish, your next of kin can write a letter to the recipients. In exchange, recipients may also send letters to your family. No one is required to make contact, but it is an option.

My teenager wants to join the registry, but I need more information.

We’re parents, too. We get it. You are at the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and everyone is a little stressed. Everything is fine until the examiner asks about organ donation. It might seem strange and it might seem a little scary, but we are here to provide information to help.

We strongly encourage you to have an open family conversation about organ, eye and tissue donation before you go to the DMV. DMV offices are great places for getting your license. They are not, however, the ideal environment to talk about end of life decisions.

The NC Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is required by state law to ask all drivers age 16 and older if they would like to join the organ donor registry. While drivers between 16 and 18 can have a  heart on their license, parents have the right to make any final decisions on their behalf. Once your teen turns 18, the heart on their license becomes legally binding, first person consent to donate, as it does for all adults.

We also encourage parents to actively listen to their teens and hear about their wishes. Being asked about organ donation and voter registration are two of the first “grown up” decisions most teens will make for themselves and the process can be empowering for them.

Note that the DMV examiner will ask the “yes” or “no” question, but will not advocate for any particular answer.

You can find more resources for teens and parents on the Donate Life website.

Does my religion allow organ donation?

Great question! All major religions support organ donation as an act of personal charity and/or love for neighbor. You can see a complete list HERE.

The second weekend in November is the National Donor Sabbath Weekend, but any time is a good time to start the conversation about organ, eye and tissue donation. Would you like to share information about organ, eye and tissue donation with your place of worship? For materials and potential speakers, contact us at

I want to be a living donor. How do I do that?

Living donors not only save lives, but they get to see the beauty of their gift in action! Did you know that living donors can donate the following?

  • Kidney
  • Lung
  • Partial liver
  • Intestine
  • Pancreas

For more information on living donation, click HERE!

I want to donate my body to science! How do I do that?

Donating your body to science is a generous way to make a difference in the medical research that could save lives. It is NOT covered under the organ, eye and tissue donor registry and it is not included in the heart on your driver's license.

Individuals wishing to make a gift of their whole body to a body donation program in North Carolina should make advance arrangements with a specific medical school or research program. Here are links to the programs in North Carolina.