Organ donation frequently asked questions

Why should I donate?

The decision to donate is based solely on human compassion. And while 95 percent of Canadians support the idea of organ and tissue donation, less than half are registered donors.
Many people in Newfoundland and Labrador are in need of an organ or tissue transplant. Some will die waiting.

Your decision to become an organ donor can save the lives of up to eight people.

Have the conversation with your family.

Timing is critical when it comes to organ donation, so it’s very important to discuss your intent to donate with your family.

Even if you’ve indicated your intent on your MCP card, your next of kin makes the final decision.

Since most people become organ and/or tissue donors following a sudden tragedy, knowing your wishes in advance may provide comfort to your loved ones and help them feel more at ease with their decision to give the gift of life to another.

Be assured that families will not be pressured into making a donation, but will be presented with information and options so they can make an informed decision.

Who can donate?

Anyone can be a potential organ donor. There is no age limit for organ donation. In certain instances, even if you have a serious medical condition, you may be able to donate.

Following death, the donor is assessed by trained health-care staff.

What organs and tissues can be donated?

Organs such as kidneys, heart, lungs, liver pancreas and small bowel can be donated. In some provinces tissues such as corneas, skin, heart valves, bone, veins, cartilage, tendons and ligaments can be donated.

To learn about becoming a living donor, contact your local kidney transplant program. For Eastern, Central and Labrador regions, contact 709-777-3601. Those living in the Western region can contact 709-637-5000 ext. 6190.

What is the cost to the donor or donor’s family?

As with any death, the family is responsible for the funeral costs. There cannot be any money exchanged for organ and tissue donation as it is illegal to sell organs in Canada.

Are there religious issues related to organ and tissue donation?

Most religious groups support organ and tissue donation. If you have concerns, you should discuss them with your religious leader.

Can my organs be retrieved for organ donation if I die outside of a hospital?

Organ donation can only occur if the potential donor dies within a hospital, where blood supply and oxygen can be provided to the body’s organs.

Will my body be disfigured after organ or tissue donation?

No. The surgery to remove organs and tissues is performed with the same dignity and respect as any other surgery.
Organ and tissue donation will not interfere with traditional funeral arrangements such as open casket. Funeral arrangements can usually proceed within 24-48 hours after death.

How do I indicate my intent to donate?

To indicate your intention to be an organ or tissue donor, the following options are available:

Visit MyGovNL

  • Create an account.
  • Sign in.
  • Choose “Link your MCP” to view your current donation status and to change it if necessary.


Indicate your intent to donate in the appropriate section of your MCP application or renewal form.

Once you’ve changed your status or updated your form, your new MCP card will have Organ Donor printed on it.

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Last updated: 2021-07-04