April 04, 2019

Talking about organ and tissue donation

Media Contact:
Lisa Cox
Chief, Office of Public Information
Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - April is National Donate Life Month, a great time to talk with your loved ones about organ, eye and tissue donation. This is also a great time to register to be a donor; donated organs can save up to eight lives and donated tissues can heal 75 or more lives.

How to Have the Conversation

What conversation? The conversation with your family about being an organ, eye and tissue donor. For many, this conversation is uncomfortable to think about. Yet when a loved one passes suddenly, family members can find themselves facing a hard decision that may be riddled with doubt; a situation that is made easier if you are a registered donor and they know about your decision. According to Mid-America Transplant, 98 percent of organ recovery and 91 percent of tissue recovery was possible because individuals were registered. People want to honor their loved ones' decisions. So, make it easier for them. Research organ, eye and tissue donation, determine what is best for you, register as a donor at www.MissouriOrganDonor.com, and then talk to those you love. If you choose not to be a donor, let your loved ones know that too.

How do you have that heartfelt conversation?

  1. Prepare. Think about the questions your loved ones might ask. Seek the answers. Prepare in advance for the conversation; preparing will make it more relaxing for you and your loved ones. 
  2. Talk/Discuss. Start the conversation. Discuss your decision at a time and place where you and your loved ones are already comfortable talking about tough issues. Inform any others who may need to know. Include in your conversation:
    1. Your decision and why their support is important to you.
    2. Listen openly to their concerns and talk about those concerns. You may need to give your loved ones some time to think more about what you shared.
    3. If there is a question or concern raised that you are not familiar with, consider finding the answer together.
    4. Explain how your decision can help people waiting for a life-saving transplant.
  3. Encourage. If loved ones want to learn more about organ, eye and tissue donation, share what you have learned and encourage them to learn more and register to be an organ, eye and tissue donor at www.MissouriOrganDonor.com.


About the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services: The department seeks to be the leader in protecting health and keeping people safe. More information about DHSS can be found at health.mo.gov or find us on Facebook and Twitter @HealthyLivingMo.