Donation

You can help others through the gift of organ and tissue donation

At the end of your life, you may be given the opportunity to help others through the gift of organ and tissue donation. Your family may be asked to honor your decision or make the decision on your behalf. To make sure your wishes are followed, register your decision today, talk to your family about it and continue to spread the word about the powerful impact of donation!

I owe it to my donor, the person who selflessly saved my life and changed the lives of my family forever, to honor their gift by advocating for an organ and tissue donation.

Gordon, liver transplant recipient

“I owe it to my donor, the person who selflessly saved my life and changed the lives of my family forever, to honor their gift by advocating for an organ and tissue donation.”

Gordon, liver transplant recipient

Register as an Organ and/or Tissue Donor

We encourage all Islanders to register their decision to become an organ and tissue donor and share their decisions with their family and loved ones. Since its inception in fall of 2015, over 50,000 Islanders (and counting), have said yes to becoming an organ and/or tissue donor.

It is crucial that your loved ones know your decision to be an organ donor so that they can honor and support your wishes.

Did You Know?

  • Since the Intent to Donate Registry first began in the fall of 2015, over 50,000 Islanders have said yes to organ and tissue donation.  
  • It only takes 2 minutes to register your decision to become an organ and tissue donor. 
  • There is no upper age limit to register to become a donor. Canada’s oldest organ and tissue donors were over 90 years old. 
  • People with existing medical conditions still have the potential to be organ and tissue donors.
  • Everyone has the potential to be an organ and tissue donor, regardless of sexual orientation, race, or religion. 
  • One organ donor can provide up to 8 organs for transplant: single or double lung, heart, liver, pancreas, kidneys, and the small intestines. 
  • One tissue donor can provide up to 75 tissue grafts: Scleral tissue, corneas, heart valves, skin grafts, tendons, and bones. 
  • In the past 5 years (2018-2022), there have been twelve deceased donors from PEI who have donated a total of thirty-five organs. In addition, there have been eight living organ donors from PEI.

Donation FAQs

01 - Why should I choose to be a donor?

Many lives could be saved if you consent to donate your organs (heart, liver, pancreas, small bowel, kidneys, and lungs) after your death. You may also give one of your kidneys or a portion of your liver or lung, while you are living. Donating tissues such as skin, bone, tendons, corneas, whole eyes and heart valves can enhance the life of someone who has been burned, or who has vision or mobility problems.

02 - I indicated that I want to be a donor on my license, is that enough?

In the past, Islanders could indicate their intention to be an organ and tissue donor by having a red heart embossed on their driver’s license and by putting a red sticker on the back of their PEI Health Card. These methods of indicating your preference are no longer in place. Islanders are now encouraged to register on the PEI Intent to Donate Registry.

The PEI Department of Motor Vehicles stopped embossing the red hearts on driver’s licenses in late 2016. As of December 2019, there are no more red hearts on the PEI driver’s licenses. In the summer of 2017, PEI began issuing new health cards. The new health cards do not have a space for the red sticker, but there will be a red heart embossed on the back of the health card if you have indicated on the PEI Intent to Donate Registry that you want to be an organ or tissue donor.

Remember to inform members of your family that you choose to be an organ and tissue donor, and update them if you change your mind. Your next of kin will be involved in the donor screening process after your death, so it is helpful if they are aware of your wishes.

03 - What is an organ and tissue intent to donate registry?

An Organ and Tissue Intent to Donate Registry is a place for people to indicate, and record, their willingness to donate organs and tissues if they are qualified to be a potential donor at the time of their death.

04 - Does PEI have presumed consent for organ and tissue donation?

In a presumed consent system, everyone is considered a potential donor unless they have registered their wish to NOT be a donor, or “opted out” of donation.

PEI has a combined Intent to Donate Registry for Organ and Tissue Donation (implemented in 2015). Islanders can say “yes” or “no” to organ and/or tissue donation – they may opt-in or out – all intentions are recorded.

In practice, each person who dies in a PEI hospital is screened for their potential to be an organ and tissue donor. The identification and the referral of a potential donor happens before the Intent to Donate Registry is accessed. In effect, every person who dies in a hospital in PEI is considered a potential donor until they are medically screened out. If the person is medically suitable to become a donor, The Intent to Donate Registry will be checked. The family will be informed of their loved one’s wishes (yes or no) and be asked to support those wishes. 

With an opt-out or opt-in model, the potential to donate would remain dependent on many factors including: health care professionals identifying potential donors, potential donors being referred for assessment, potential donors meeting the medical requirements for donation, families agreeing to the donation, etc.

05 - How old do I have to be to register to become a donor?

You can consent to be an organ or tissue donor if you are aged 16 or older and fully understand the nature and consequences of your donation. You can change your mind at any time. Parents cannot provide prior consent for the donation of organs and tissues of children under 16 years of age. Parents can only consent on behalf of their children if and when the opportunity to donate arises. You cannot consent in advance on behalf of someone else. For more information, read the Human Tissue Donation Act.

06 - If I have a health condition, or if I am on medication, can I still register to be a donor?

While there are certain criteria that must be met to make sure the organs and tissues are safe to donate, your decision to register should not be based on whether you think you would be eligible or not. Research on the safety of organs and tissues for transplant is being done all the time and criteria changes when new information becomes available.

If you would like to be a donor, you can answer “yes” on the form. When organ or tissue donation becomes a possibility, health care professionals will review your health history and make sure that your organs and tissues are safe and healthy enough for donation.

07 - How do I register my intention to be an organ or tissue donor?

To register your intention to become an organ or tissue donor, you can complete the online form here or print off the Intent to Donate form and mail it to:

Medicare Office

126 Douses Road

PO Box 3000

Montague, PE 

C0A 1R0 

As always, you are encouraged to discuss your decision to become an organ and tissue donor with your family.

08 - Are there religious objections to eye, organ, or tissue donations?

No. Donation is an opportunity to help save a life or restore someone’s sight. Eye, organ, and tissue donation are consistent with the beliefs of major religions. You may wish to include your spiritual leader in your decision-making process.

09 - Is there a cost for my family if I choose to donate?

No. It is illegal to buy or sell human eyes, organs and tissue. Donation should not cause any extra financial burden to your family or your estate. There are options available to assist with travel expense if you wish to accompany your loved one to another province for the organ retrieval. Please contact the Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplant Manager at organandtissue@gov.pe.ca if you have any questions.

10 - Will an organ or tissue donation delay my funeral? Will it prevent an open casket?

The surgery to remove organs and tissues is done with the same care as any other surgery. The donor’s body is treated with respect and dignity. All areas affected by organ or tissue removal are reconstructed. This is very important with eye donation. In these cases, the eye area is reconstructed so you cannot tell that surgery was done. Usually, you can expect the body to be released to the funeral home 24-48 hours after the person has passed away.

Most of the time, there is no way to tell that the person was an organ or tissue donor, and you can have an open-casket funeral. All donations are confidential; however, if you would like others to know that your loved one was a donor; you may want to include this information in the obituary, the funeral program, or the eulogy. For more information, please contact the Provincial Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation Manager at organandtissue@gov.pe.ca  or 902-368-5920.

11 - Who do I contact if I have more questions about organ and tissue donation?

Provincial Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation Manager

Email: organandtissue@gov.pe.ca

Phone: 902-368-5920

Mailing Address: 
Organ and Tissue Donation
Sullivan Building (3rd Floor)
16 Fitzroy Street
PO Box 2000
Charlottetown, PE
C1A 7N8

All receipts and official documentation for your claim for reimbursement should be submitted to the Provincial Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation Manager within 90 days after the transplant procedure.