As of winter 2012, about 11,000 people in Illinois are waiting for a life-saving transplant.

You can register to become an organ donor whenever you apply for or renew your driver's license.

You can also register at any time with the Illinois Organ/Tissue Donor Registry.  The “Illinois Organ/Tissue Donor Registry” allows citizens from Illinois an easy means to join the state’s donor registry. You can join the registry through the Web site, when renewing your driver license online, or when obtaining/renewing their license at a local driver license office.   If you already have “organ donor” on your driver license, you still are encouraged to join the new registry to ensure your previous designation is documented.

You can read the Illinois Statue on donations here.

Many people are nervous about choosing to be an organ donor.  The following facts may ease your mind about the decision.

Fact:  Medical professionals do EVERYTHING they can to save your life. If you are sick or injured and admitted to the hospital, the doctors who work to save your life are not the same doctors involved with organ donation. It is only after every attempt has been made to save your life that donation will be considered.

Fact: There is no special consideration due to age, sex, race, sexual orientation, occupation, social status, or financial status when determining who gives or receives an organ transplant.

Fact:  An open casket funeral is possible for organ, tissue, and eye donors. The donor is treated with respect and dignity throughout the process.

Fact: There is no cost to the donor or their family for organ, tissue, and eye donation.

Fact:  Everyone, regardless of their age or medical condition, is urged to join the Illinois Registry. At the time of death, medical professionals will determine a person's eligibility to become an organ, tissue, and eye donor.

Fact: The identity of all parties is kept confidential. The donor family and the transplant recipient may receive such information as age, sex, and state of residence. Individually, the recipient may be told the circumstances of death, and the donor's family may be informed of the transplants performed. The donor’s family may also receive feedback on how the recipient’s health status has improved. The donation agencies facilitate correspondence and meetings initiated by either the donor family or recipient.

Fact:  Agreeing to donation for research when registering as a donor does not include whole body/anatomical donation.