Who can be an organ donor?
Anyone 18 years or over may be an organ donor. Minors who are at least 16 years old may add a donor designation if a parent or guardian consents in writing. Advanced age or a history of illness do not mean you can't be a donor. Decisions about the suitability of donated organs are made at the time of death. The donation of the body for medical education is also possible.
What are the rights of the next of kin?
A donor designation on a Maryland driver's license or identification card is sufficient legal authority for the removal of body organs and tissues upon the death of the donor. To ensure your wishes are carried out it's recommended you discuss your commitment to be a donor with your family. During a family discussion one can learn how each person feels about becoming a donor and assure that a relative's wishes are carried out, because the donation is usually discussed with one's next of kin.
Will my family have to pay additional fees if I am a donor?
The family of a donor does not receive nor pay any fees. It's illegal to buy or sell human organs or tissues. The family is responsible for the burial costs, but does not pay any hospital or physician fees associated with organ and tissue removal.
Could there be any conflict between saving your life and using your organs/tissues for transplantation?
Absolutely not! Donation is considered only after all efforts to save your life have been exhausted. Donation never occurs until death is certified.