Age limit

It doesn’t matter what age we are or how our health is, each of us can be an eligible donor. Organs and tissue from people in their 70s and 80s are often transplanted successfully. 

Children aged 14 and over in Northern Ireland can sign the NHS Register and parents/guardians can register their children before the age of 14 if it is something the child has expressed a wish to do. Children who are under 18 at the time of registration will require their parent or guardian’s consent for donation to take place.

Donor Health

Having an illness or medical condition doesn't necessarily prevent a person from becoming an organ or tissue donor. When the time comes, medical specialists will determine if your organs are healthy and suitable for donation taking into account your medical, travel and social history. The important thing is that you’re registered and have spoken to your family, expressing your decision to help others and giving consent for donation to take place. 

There are very few conditions where organ donation is ruled out completely. 

A person cannot become an organ donor if they have or are suspected of having:

In rare cases, the organs of donors with HIV have been used to help others with the same conditions. If you live with HIV and wish to be a donor, please register to donate, the medical team will establish whether or not your organs are suitable for donation.


Blood is taken from all potential donors and tested to rule out transmissible diseases and viruses such as HIV and hepatitis. The family of the potential donor is made aware that this procedure is required.


Someone with current active cancer cannot become an organ donor. However, it may be possible for people with certain types of cancers to donate after three years of treatment. It may also be possible to donate corneas and some tissue in these circumstances.