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10 Questions Students Ask About Organ Donation

When our community educators teach organ, eye and tissue donation programs to high schoolers, people often want to know what the students are like, how the programs are received and what questions they have about the donation process.

Community Education Manager Ron Packard teaches about donation in the classroom

Liver recipient Ron Packard teaches about donation in the classroom

We thought it would be nice to share with the public what students are curious about. Our team compiled a list of the top 10 (appropriate) questions students ask us about donation. Are these your questions, too?

In no particular order:

10. Why do they ask me about donation at the BMV? Each Bureau of Motor Vehicle location is required by the law to ask each unregistered donor if they want to join the Ohio Donor Registry. The reason the BMV was selected is because it’s the agency that interacts with the community on a consistent basis.

9. When was the first transplant? Dr. Joseph Murray performed the first organ transplant in 1954.

8. If I say “yes” at the BMV and join the registry, do my parents still have to give permission? Until you turn 18 years old, your parents have the ability to amend your wish to donate. It’s important to share your decision to donate with your family so they understand your wishes and are able to honor them in the event that a tragedy would happen.

7. What organ is needed most? Currently, nearly 100,000 of the more than 114,000 Americans waiting for an organ transplant in the United States are in need of a kidney.

6. Will my whole body be donated if I am on the registry? No. If you say yes at the BMV or online without restrictions, the organs that can be donated are your two kidneys, two lungs, heart, pancreas, liver and small bowel.

5. Do donor families and recipients always get to meet? No. Donation is an anonymous process. If the time and circumstances are right, and the donor families and recipients indicate mutual interest, the opportunity to meet could be possible.

4. What organs can you donate while you are still alive? You can donate your kidneys, a portion of your lung and a part of your liver while you are still alive as a living donor. But your Ohio Donor Registry designation is not a factor in living donation.

3. Does donation work the way we see it on TV? TV shows and the media don’t always portray the donation process correctly. All organ procurement organizations like Lifeline of Ohio and hospitals follow strict regulations to make sure all transplants are handled with the utmost care. Click here for more information on donation myths.

2. If I donate part of the eyes, can my family still have an open casket funeral? You can still have an open casket funeral. In fact, if you or a loved one are an organ donor, it will not impact the type of funeral or service you want to have. Click here for more information on donation and open casket funerals.

1. Are you a (registered) donor? All staff who works for Lifeline of Ohio are registered organ donors because we believe in our mission of saving and healing lives. The opportunity to give life is rare – only one percent of people are able to actually donate. It’s important Ohioans educate themselves on the donation process so the candidates waiting get the life-saving transplants they need.

Our goal is to answer these types of questions in our programs. Each year, Lifeline of Ohio’s community educators visit more than 200 schools on our journey to provide more than 30,000 students the information they need to make an informed decision about donation.  We want the students to learn how the registry works and to understand the importance of making that decision known.   

To schedule a free program for a school or community event, please feel free to email us at

We look forward to seeing you in the classroom!


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