Organ donation

What is organ donation and transplantion?

To donate means to give away an organ after your own death. These organs may be donated from a deceased person: heart, both lungs, liver, both kidneys and pancreas, in total seven organs.

Transplantation means to receive an organ. We say that an organ is ‘transplanted’ when it is operated in a patient.

A transplant is necessary for people who are suffering from a disease that has progressed so far that they will have a limited life expectancy without a life-saving organ donation. An offer of organ donation is their only hope of life.

Why be an organ donor?

1. Organ donation saves lives

At any given time there are around 500 people on the waiting list for a new, life saving organ. Organ donation is for many the only way out of a fatal disease. Since 1969 over 13,000 people in Norway have been saved by organ donation. One donor can save up to seven lives.

2. What comes around goes around

Would you say yes to a donated organ if it could save your life? Organ donation is based on volunteerism and altruism. The scheme wouldn’t work if no one said yes. Did you know that you are three-times more likely to need a lifesaving organ than you are to be an organ donor? If you are prepared to receive then you should be prepared to give.

3. Make the decision so that your family doesn’t have to

Every year many families experience one of their loved ones being seriously injured in an accident or being affected by a cerebral haemorrhage or thrombosis. If organ donation is a possibility, the doctor will ask the next of kin what the deceased would have wanted. If the wishes of the deceased are not known, the next of kin can decide. For many families this can be a difficult decision. That’s why it is important to inform your next of kin so that they don’t have to make the decision on your behalf.

How do I ensure that I donate?

It is your decision that counts. Your next of kin should be able to confirm your decision. You should make sure that you tell your next of kin about your thoughts on organ donation, so that they don’t have to make this decision on your behalf. You should also fill out a donor card. Organ donor cards can be found in the brochure ‘Organ Donation – saves lives’, which are located in pharmacies and doctor office. You can also download the app ‘Donor Card’ to your smart phone (iPhone or Android), or register your card in your summary care at

On the donor card you should include the names of two family members or friends who you have informed about your standpoint on organ donation. In the smart phone app, you can add the two names directly from your phone contacts, and they will automatically receive an SMS when you have registered. The donor card can also be printed out.

Who can donate? Can everyone who dies be a donor?

Everybody can say yes to organ donation. But only people who die, while treated by a respirator in one of the country’s donor hospitals can be a donor. However, a number of medical requirements need to be met. Organ donation is possible in 0,4–0,5% of all deaths.

Which organs can be donated?

These organs may be transplanted from a deceased person: Heart, both lungs, liver, both kidneys and pancreas, in total 7 organs. It is possible to extract cluster cells called islets of Lagerhans from the pancreas that can be used as a form of treatment for patiens with diabetes. A liver can be divided into two parts. As a living donor you can give one of your two kidneys to a family member, relative or close friend.

Are there any illnesses or medicines that can hinder donation?

Everyone can say yes to organ donation. With each case a comprehensive medical assessment will be carried out determine whether organs are suitable for transplantation. Illnesses like cancer, diabetes and Myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) does not exclude organ donation. Nor does medicine usage.

Does ethnicity, nationality or a stay abroad make a difference to whether I can be a donor?

No. None of these factors make a difference to organ donation.

What does religion say about organ donation?

The main world religions and most religious communities are positive to organ donation or at least allow it under certain conditions. Many religions consider it an expression of charity. Other religions have no stance and leave it up to the individual to decide. But in all religions there are groups and individuals who are for or against organ donation.

I am a non-ethnical Norwegian living in Norway. Can I donate in Norway?

Yes. Fill out a donor card in the usual way and inform your next of kin in Norway or your home country.

Step 1

Tell your next of kin

You should make sure that you tell your next of kin about your thoughts on organ donation. If they don’t know, they will have to make this decision on your behalf, if something were to happen to you.

Step 2

Get your Donor card

A Donor card is a card that allows you to inform others of your point of view on organ donation and confirms that you have informed your next of kin. In addition to your own name, you need to include the names and phone numbers of two family members or friends whom you have also informed. Keep you Donor card™ where it suits you best.

Your summary care record

You can fill out your Donor card in your summary care record, and notify your next of kin. Your summary care record is delivered by

Always with you

Download the Donor card app for your smartphone.

Your wallet

The Donor card can be found in the brochure ‘Organ Donation – saves lives’, which are located in pharmacies and doctor office.