A doctor holding a heart in the palm of their hands

How to sign up to be an organ donor in Ontario

At any given time, more than 1,000 people in Ontario are waiting for a transplant. Plain and simple – organ and tissue donations save lives. It is often the only form of treatment for people with damaged organs. Without a healthy organ from a gracious donor, someone who needs a transplant will likely die. This is why becoming a donor is encouraged and important for the well-being of our society as a whole.

Many people are surprised when they learn how many people are not donors, especially in Ontario. What people fail to realize is that even if you are a donor, to be able to donate an organ and for your organs to be in a good state for donation, your body needs to die in the hospital, while on life support. This criterion leaves only a small number of people, and it’s even more reason for you to become a donor and help save a life.

What can you donate?

There is a wide range of organs and tissues that you can donate, including the following:

  • Organs such as lungs, heart, kidneys, liver and pancreas
  • Tissues such as bones and bone marrow, skin, heart valves and tendons

Steps to becoming a donor in Ontario

Signing up to be a donor in Ontario is much easier than you might think. Did you know that it only takes 2 minutes to register as a donor? Here is what you need to know about signing up to be a donor:

  • You will be asked to provide some basic information, so get your health card ready
  • Click “Register or Check Now” with Service Ontario at https://beadonor.ca/
  • Register or update your registration in a few simple steps

To qualify as a donor in Ontario, you must be at least 16 years of age. There is no cost to becoming a donor, and if you change your mind, you can withdraw your consent at any time.

After you register, you will receive a confirmation letter in the mail, so make sure your mailing address is up to date.

Donor statistics

To put things into context, here are some statistics about donors in Ontario:

  • More than 85% of Ontarians are in favour of organ donation
  • 25% of Ontarians are registered donors (that’s more than 2.9 million people)
  • Over 1,500 people in Ontario are currently waiting for a life-saving organ transplant
  • More than 10,000 people have received life-saving organ transplants since 2003
  • The current goal is to get 275,000 new registrations between April 1, 2014 and March 31, 2015
  • In 2012, 284,942 people signed up to be organ donors

Source: https://beadonor.ca/scoreboard

Reasons to register as an organ donor

There are many reasons you should consider registering to be an organ donor:

  • Organ donation saves lives
  • Organs from one donor can help or save up to 50 individuals
  • Receiving an organ can provide a person with a new lease on life or a better quality of life
  • Receiving an organ helps the grieving families of those who are waiting for a transplant
  • Donating an organ is like giving someone the ultimate gift

Only 50% of families consent to organ donation if a loved one who dies did not register their consent. If you want to be a donor, it’s important to make your intentions clear, so your family can fulfill your wishes.

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