Organ and Tissue Donation

You can help us save thousands of lives in the UK every year by signing up to become an organ donor.

NHS Organ Donation Register

What is organ donation?

Organ donation happens when organs are taken from people who have died or living people and given to others whose lives are severely affected by a failed organ. The lives of seriously ill people can be dramatically improved or even saved by organ donation when organs that would otherwise go to waste after a person has died, are given to those in need. It is a generous act.

What is tissue donation?

You can choose to donate tissue after your death, as well as major organs. Tissues such as skin, bone, tendons, heart valves, cartilage and eyes can all be donated to repair and rebuild the bodies, faces and lives of severely injured people. The best time to donate is within the first 24 hours after a person has died, however, it is still possible to donate up to 48 hours after death.

Why do we need more donors?

Currently, there is a serious shortage of organs available for donation due to a number of reasons. On average three people die each day because they were not able to receive a transplant due to the organ shortage.

Thousands of people are in need of a life saving transplant and the number of people on the waiting list is only expected to rise due to factors such as the ageing population, rise in obesity and an increase in kidney failures. Along with this, less than 5,000 people each year in the UK die in circumstances where they would be suitable for organ donation.

Usually the patients suitable for organ donation will be on a ventilator in the Intensive Care Unit or Emergency Department and are declared brain dead or die despite medical treatment. Only organs from people that have passed away in a hospital are suitable for donation.

Why is it important to register?

Another major reason for the shortage of organs is that many people have not recorded their decision to be a donor after they die. This can be done either by joining the NHS Organ Donor Register or, just as importantly, discussed their decision to be a donor with their families.

Adding your name to the register will enable healthcare professionals to carry out your donation decisions should you die in circumstances where you are able to donate your organs and tissues.

If your decision is not clear, your next of kin will be asked what they think you will have wanted, so it is important that you make sure they are  aware of your views on organ donation.

South Tees consent rates

For the past three years South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has consistently achieved the highest rates in the UK when it comes to families considering organ donation after brain death.

How do I join the register?

There are several ways to join the register:

  1. Register online at
  2. or phone 0300 123 23 23

Don’t forget to discuss your decision with your family and friends.

You can choose to donate some or all of your organs, and you can change your mind at any time by calling or filling in an application using the details above.