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What are the restrictions?

We will only use organs from a donor with their consent or with their family’s consent after they die. 

If you want to make a real difference by being an organ or tissue donor after your death, there are two important steps you need to take:

  • Join the NHS Organ Donor Register
  • Tell your family and friends that you have joined the register and want to be a donor so they can support your decision

If you die in circumstances in which you can donate, medical staff will consult the NHS Organ Donor Register to see if you had recorded a decision about organ donation. It is also important to discuss your decision with your family so that if the time ever comes, your relatives are in no doubt that their loved one wanted to be an organ donor.

Medical conditions

Having an illness or medical condition doesn't necessarily prevent a person from becoming an organ or tissue donor. The decision about whether some or all organs or tissue are suitable for transplant is made by a medical specialist at the time of donation, taking into account your medical, travel and social history. 

There are very few conditions where organ donation is ruled out completely. 

A person cannot become an organ donor if they have or are suspected of having:

* Someone with current active cancer cannot become an organ donor. However, it may be possible for people with certain types of cancers to donate after three years of treatment. It may also be possible to donate eyes and some tissue in these circumstances. 

** In rare cases, the organs of donors with HIV have been used to help others with the same conditions. 

Find out more about your eligibility as an organ donor.


Organs or tissues that have been removed for transplant can be used for research but only if there is family consent to do so. The option of research will be discussed with your family at the time of the conversation regarding organ donation. 

Further information