Illinois Donor/Consent for Organ and Tissue Donation


  • On Jan. 1, 2006, Illinois became the 43rd state to honor an individual’s legally binding decision to become an organ and tissue donor. This is known as first-person consent for organ and tissue donation, or donor consent.
  • Today, an individual who registers in the state’s new donor consent registry is registering his or her legal decision to becoming an organ and tissue donor after death. Additional witnesses, signatures or decisions from the donor’s next-of-kin will not be required to honor those wishes, nor will next-of-kin be able to override the donor’s documented decision to become a donor.
  • Illinoisans who enrolled in Illinois’ former registry (before Jan. 1, 2006) must re-register in the new donor consent registry to make sure their wishes are honored.
  • The concept behind donor consent is the same as that of a living will—that an individual who legally documents a personal end-of-life decision will have that decision honored.
  • Among those that have worked in support of Donor Consent in Illinois are the Illinois Hospital Association, the Illinois State Medical Society, the Illinois Nurses Association, the Illinois Department of Public Health, Gift of Hope Organ & Tissue Donor Network, Mid-America Transplant Services, the Illinois Eye-Bank, the Musculoskeletal Transplant Foundation and officials from each of Illinois’ eight organ transplant centers.
  • The more quickly that Illinoisans register in the state’s new donor consent registry, the sooner we will be able to save lives as a direct result of this important new law.
  • To register to be an organ and tissue donor in Illinois, and learn more about the donation process, go to” You may also register by visiting, enrolling when you visit any Illinois Secretary of State driver’s services facility, or calling 800/210-2106. The new registry is managed by the office of Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White.
  • Illinois’ donor consent law was passed for two reasons. First, it will help save more lives through organ donation and transplantation. Second, it is a matter of public trust assuring millions of Illinoisans who enroll in the state organ/tissue donor registry that their clearly documented wishes to donate will be honored and will not be overridden.
  • Until now, approximately 19 percent of Illinoisans who enrolled in the state donor registry had their intent to donate overruled by family members. As a result, the individual’s wishes to donate were not honored, and opportunities to save lives through transplantation have been lost.
  • Based on this data, Illinois new donor consent registry is expected to result in a 10 percent increase in organ donation, or approximately 100 more organs donated for transplant each year.
  • This will make a significant impact in saving lives: Each year, more than 300 people in Illinois die while waiting for a donated organ that never becomes available. Currently, more than 4,700 patients in Illinois and 98,000 across the country are waiting for lifesaving organ transplants.