When preparing personal directives for clients, I always ask whether they are interested in being organ donors. While not for everyone, being an organ donor means that you are willing to give a very special gift to someone you have never met. You can be certain that this gift will either save a person’s life or significantly improve a person’s life. In some cases, a single donor can save or improve several lives at once.


A very positive development in recent months is the Alberta Government’s creation on an organ and tissue donor registry. There are two ways that a person can register as an organ and tissue donor. The first way is to indicate your preference to be a donor when you go to renew your driver’s licence at an Alberta Registries office. The second way to register is to Google something like Alberta organ donor registry. Likely the first thing to come up will be the Alberta organ and tissue donation registry page. All you’ll need is your Alberta Health number. Once you have completed the online form a PDF documented will be generated. You will then print this off, sign it with a witness (no need for notarization), and mail it in to the Alberta Health address listed on the document. That’s it. That’s all you have to do to save lives.


The online form asks some specific questions about your preferences. Probably the most common preference is to donate all available organs and tissues for the purposes of transplantation. Some people may wish to only donate certain organs or tissues, and you can indicate those preferences on the form.


Other people may even wish to donate their bodies for scientific research or to assist with the education of medical students. You can indicate those preferences as well. That being said, if you wish to leave your body for scientific research or medical education, you should also contact either the University of Calgary body donation program or the University of Alberta anatomical gifts program. I have been advised by a representative of the University of Calgary program that they have other forms for would-be donors to fill out that are in addition to the Alberta Government’s online donor registry form.


If you would like to donate your organs and tissues, visit: https://myhealth.alberta.ca/pages/otdrhome.aspx


If you are interested in donating your body to the University of Calgary body donation program, please visit: http://www.ucalgary.ca/bodydonation/


If you are interested in donating your body to the University of Alberta anatomical gifts program, please visit: http://surgery.med.ualberta.ca/AboutUs/Divisions/anatomy/anatomicalgifts/Pages/default.aspx