Blood, Organ, and Other Medical Donations

Find out how to help others through medical donations.

Donate Blood

Donating blood is a simple way to help save a life. If you're a first time donor, let the organization know when you make your appointment and ask: 

  • Is there is something you need to do ahead of time to prepare? 
  • What are some of the potential adverse reactions to the procedure? 

The government monitors blood and blood products to make sure blood is handled properly and that you're safe as a donor or as a transfusion recipient. Learn more about blood monitoring for safety.

Where You Can Donate

The American Red Cross and the United Blood Services are nationwide organizations that manage blood donations. They are not part of the federal government.

The Armed Services Blood Program (ASBP) is the official blood program for the U.S. military. It is part of the federal government. Most blood products are for ill or injured service members, veterans and military families worldwide.

Register to Donate

  • Call the American Red Cross blood donation hotline at 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit their website for local blood drives and Red Cross regions.
  • Visit the United Blood Services website for local blood drives and donor centers. 
  • Civilians can donate blood at an ASBP blood donor center on a military installation only. Restrictions apply on who can donate. See the ASBP website for a list of military donor centers.

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Donate Organs and Tissue

Organ and tissue donation and transplantation provide a second chance at life for thousands of people each year. People of all ages can be organ and tissue donors. There are few reasons a potential donor may not be suitable (such as HIV infection, active cancer, systemic infection) and no strict upper or lower age limits. Read inspiring stories and learn how the processes of organ donation and transplantation work at

Donate to People

Donate to Science

  • You can donate either your complete body or specific organs like your brain to help medical research.
  • Contact the medical facility or research study of your choice to make donation arrangements based on what area of research you want to help.  


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Donation and Transplantation video

Watch this animated video about organ donation and transplantation.

0:00 bed
0:09 every year many thousands of people receive the gift of life
0:12 a life-saving transplant a hard
0:15 kidney liver months pancreas
0:18 or intestines
0:20 and thousands more people receive corneas and other tissues
0:24 restore sight and health
0:27 transplantation is one of the great medical advances have our time
0:30 how does it work
0:32 I'm it all starts when someone's organ begins to fail
0:36 and that person will need a transplant to survive
0:40 a thorough evaluation is conducted at a transplant
0:44 and if the person's a good candidate for transplant
0:47 he or she will be put on the national transplant waiting list
0:50 once a person is on the list to wait for an organ begins
0:56 a national system that is people on the waiting list with donors
1:00 are the factors considered in matching donors and recipients include
1:04 blood type and body size and how sick the patient is
1:08 distance from the donor tissue-type and length of time on the waiting list
1:13 what doesn't get taken into account organs are never matched
1:17 based on race or gender income celebrity
1:21 and social status are also never considered
1:24 in matching donor organs to waiting  patience there's no telling how long the
1:29 wait will take
1:30 in fact some people don't receive an organ in time
1:34 because the waiting list is very long and there are not enough donors available
1:40 that's why an average of 18 people on the waiting list
1:43 die each day
1:45 imagine how many we could save if we all were donors
1:50 most organs for transplants come from deceased donors
1:53 here's how that happens a person comes to the hospital
1:56 the life-threatening brain injury such as from an accident
2:00 a strong for lack of oxygen the doctors work hard to see the patient's life
2:06 but sometimes nothing can be done there's a complete
2:10 irreversible loss of brain function the patient is clinically
2:14 and legally dead that's when being a donor
2:18 can turn a time of loss into a time of hope
2:21 because machines have kept blood containing oxygen flowing to the organs
2:25 they can be passed along one person
2:29 can give life to as many as eight people through organ donation
2:32 and enhance the lives of fifty people are more through I and tissue donations
2:37 but now minutes matter
2:41 matches must be found and transplants must happen quickly
2:45 the hospital contacts and organ procurement organization
2:49 O-P-O manages that organ recovery process
2:53 the O-P-O checks the state organ donor registry
2:57 if the person is already registered as a donor fill-in form the family
3:01 if not they will ask the family to authorize donations a medical examination takes
3:07 place
3:07 the check the medical and social history and if the person is
3:11 eligible to be an organ donor the computer begins the search on the
3:15 national waiting list
3:16 for well matched patients the best match patients for each organ are contacted by
3:21 their transplant teams
3:22 this is the call the every single person on the waiting list has been hoping for
3:26  the call that could mean a second chance at life
3:31 now the transplant happens the a surgical team recovers the organs
3:36 then corneas and other tissues the organs
3:40 are sent to the transplant hospitals for the patients where transplant teams are
3:43 waiting
3:44 at the life-saving transplants take place 
3:48 it will take a healthy living in medications to keep the organ working
3:51 well in its new home
3:53 but some wonderful person has given the most precious gift of all
3:57 the gift of life  you too can make the decision today
4:02 to sign up on your state registry as an organ or eye
4:05 tissue donor any age is the right age young or old
4:09 any day is the right day to sign up as a donor
4:12 on you can register through your drivers license office
4:17  or you can sign up right now online
4:21 remember to tell your family so they can support your wishes
4:24 more than 100 million people have already signed up
4:28 but we are all needed to save more lives
4:31 go to organ donor dot GOV  and sign up in your state donor registry for organ 
4:36 and eye tissue donor 
4:38 go to organ donor dot GOV and share the gift of life
4:46 music playing
4:47 music playing
4:50 music ends

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