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February 2023

What to know if you’re considering organ donation

(NC) There has been a concerted effort in recent years to increase the number of people who are registered to be organ donors. In many provinces, it has become an important priority.

The decision to become an organ donor is deeply personal. It’s not a choice to be taken lightly. You should make it armed with as much information as possible. To assist anyone who may be grappling with the decision, here are a few things you should know.

What is the impact?
A single organ donor can save as many as eight lives. Organs that can be transplanted include: the heart, lungs, liver, pancreas and kidney.

What’s the need?
According to the Canadian Institute for Health Information, there are currently over 4,000 people on the wait list for a donor organ. More than three quarters are waiting for a kidney. The median wait time for a donor kidney in Canada is 46 months.

What is living donation?
It’s possible to be a living organ donor. You can choose to donate one of your kidneys or part of your liver. This option requires rigorous medical testing and preparation to help ensure it’s a successful donation. A living donation allows more time to plan a surgery when both the donor and recipient are in the best possible health. It also means less waiting for the person in need of the transplant.

What are the steps to become a donor?

  1. Talk to your family
    It’s important to let your family know about your wishes when it comes to organ donation, as they may be consulted in the consent process.
  2. Register with the province
    How to register as an organ donor varies depending on your province or territory. It may be possible to register online, sign the back of your driver’s license, or opt in via your annual income tax return. Nova Scotia has adopted an opt-out organ donation policy, which means individuals who do not wish to be organ donors must register that choice.

Find out more about becoming an organ donor at

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