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When I renewed my RI driver's license, I noticed a question on the form regarding organ and tissue donation. What happens if I check off 'yes'?

The RI DMV has partnered with Donate Life New England – a program offered through New England Organ Bank – to allow drivers a fast and easy way to make their donation decision known. 99% of all people who identify themselves as an organ & tissue donor do so at the RI DMV. By checking 'yes' you are consenting to donation and offering the gift of life after you die. Organs that can be donated may include the heart, kidneys, liver, lungs, small bowel and pancreas. Tissues donated can be corneas, heart values, bones, skin, tendons and veins.

People of all ages and medical histories can consider becoming an organ and tissue donor. As a donor, you can save and enhance the lives of more than 50 people. Even if you have had a serious health problem like diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, certain types of cancer, or even hepatitis, you may still be able to donate. Your commitment to donation won't interfere with your medical care. Organ and tissue donation becomes an option only after all lifesaving efforts have been made. If you are sick or injured and admitted to the hospital, the number one priority is to save your life.

Some more interesting facts about donation:

  • Most major religions support donation as an unselfish act of charity.
  • Donation should not delay or change funeral arrangements.
  • There is no cost to the donor's family or estate for donation.
  • Fame or ability to pay does not influence a potential recipient's place on the waitlist.

Consent for donation is confirmed, and your family is asked to participate in the process by providing your medical history. Surgical procedures are used to recover donated organs and tissue. The body is always treated with great care, respect and dignity.

Organs are distributed based upon medical information like blood type, body size, and tissue type matching through a national computer network. Tissue is distributed based upon patient need, availability and medical criteria. A person's race or ethnic origin does not affect who receives available organs. Patients are more likely to find matches among donors of their same race or ethnicity.

If you check 'yes' on your license or state ID application or renewal form, DMV will forward your name to Donate Life New England. Visit for all the information you'll need to make an informed choice about organ donation. Also remember to visit our website to see if you are eligible to renew your driver's license online.

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