How to Become a Donor

Expressing your interest in donation is simple

Expressing your interest in donation is simple. You may register as a donor when applying for or renewing a driver’s license. Additionally, if you’re a resident of the Commonwealth of Virginia, you may register online at Donate Life Virginia.

Other means of legally documenting an anatomical gift include donor cards, wills, and advanced directives. These documents are less desirable as legal documents of gift, since the event of death often leaves these documents inaccessible at the time when they are needed.

So, what occurs at the time of death is that the eye bank screens an individual to determine whether that individual is eligible for donation. Registries are checked to determine if the deceased had registered as a donor either online or through the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) when applying for or renewing a license. Attempts to contact the family are made to discuss the decedent’s registration or, if the decedent is not registered, to offer the option of donation.

Who can be a donor? Anyone! Cataracts, poor eyesight, or age do not prevent you from being a donor. It is important for individuals wanting to be donors to inform family members of their wishes.

In the absence of a legal document of anatomical gift created by an individual accessible within a few hours of death, the Revised Uniform Anatomical Gift Act (rev. 2007), lists the following order of priority for who may make anatomical gift of decedent’s body or part (sec. 9(a)):

  • an agent of the donor, unless the power of attorney for health care or other record prohibits the agent from making an anatomical gift (as phrased in sec. 4 (2));
  • the spouse of the decedent;
  • adult children of the decedent;
  • parents of the decedent;
  • adult siblings of the decedent;
  • adult grandchildren of the decedent;
  • grandparents of the decedent;
  • an adult who exhibited special care and concern for the decedent;
  • the persons who were acting as the [guardians] of the person of the decedent at the time of death; and
  • any other person having the authority to dispose of the decedent’s body.