When you get your driver’s license for the first time, renew it or get a license in a new state, you have the opportunity to designate that you are an organ donor. You might make this decision in the moment and then regret it. Your circumstances might have changed, and now organ donation is not right for you. You have the option to remove the organ donor designation, though the process may differ depending on your state.
TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)
You need to remove yourself from your state's organ donor registry before you obtain a new license without the organ donor symbol.
Remove Yourself From Organ Donation Online
Having yourself listed as an organ donor on your license means your name is put on a state organ donor registry, which is different for most states. The first step to removing your name from the registry is to call the DMV to find out who manages the state’s donor registry, or to conduct a quick search online. You can quickly find your state's registry through the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ site organdonor.gov.
For instance, in the state of Washington, LifeCenter Northwest manages the donor list. In Oklahoma, the organ donor registry is maintained by LifeShare Transplant. In Mississippi, the Mississippi Organ Recovery Agency, also known as Donate Life Mississippi, oversees the list.
You may be able to go to the organ donor registry site online, create a profile and un-designate yourself as an organ donor or limit which organs you will allow to be donated. This new record replaces any previous record, even if the donor symbol is still on your license. If you do not see a way to do this online, call the donor registry organization.
You Might Be on More Than One Registry
If you have had driver’s licenses in more than one state, then you may be on more than one organ donor registry. Consider everywhere you have lived and had driver’s licenses since you were in high school and could drive. That could be quite a few states. Check whether you are on any of their registries. If you are, then you must remove yourself from each registry.
Go to the DMV
If you wish to remove yourself from the organ donor registry and you want a license that does not indicate you are an organ donor, then go to the DMV in person. It is best to call the DMV and ask if you can remove yourself from the organ donor registry there, or if you should do so in some other way.
You want to make sure you are off the list before you obtain a new driver’s license. If you are not off the list and you pay for a new license, you could end up with another license that has the donor symbol on it.
Once you are confident you are off the donor registry, it is then up to you whether you want a new driver’s license. It may depend on when your current license expires. If it is years from now, you may prefer to obtain a replacement. If it expires soon, it may be prudent to wait and ensure the donor symbol is off your next license.
Your License Does Not Control the Situation
To reiterate, the donor symbol on your driver’s license is not the last word on whether your organs are donated or not. The organ donor symbol on your license is merely to inform paramedics or physicians. The medical facility then must check your home state’s organ donor registry. If you have removed your name from the organ donor list, the medical facility sees this.
You Can Sign a Refusal
Under the revised Anatomical Gift Act, you have the right to make sure your organs are not donated by your next of kin after you pass. You may sign a refusal that expressly prohibits your organs from being donated by anyone. If you want to execute a refusal, contact a local attorney who handles end-of-life planning and advanced directives.