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Can I Still Be Cremated If I Want to Be an Organ Donor?

May 15, 2019

Yes – in fact, organ or tissue donation will not affect ceremony or disposition options in any way. The donation process almost never impacts funeral plans. Funeral services for organ donors may be held either before or after cremation occurs and most even include open casket ceremonies. Like anyone choosing cremation, your options are only limited by your imagination. Our funeral directors are cremation experts who can guide you through all of the options and help you find the right solution for your family.

According to the Mayo Clinic, there are presently more than 100,000 people in the U.S. waiting for an organ transplant, and many will never get the call that a suitable donor organ has been found. It’s been estimated that 20 patients in the U.S. die every day because of the lack of donor organs. Making the decision to become an organ donor is an act of generosity and selflessness that can save lives.

Organs that may be donated include, kidneys, heart, lungs, liver, pancreas, and intestines. However, these vital organs need blood flow to be viable for transplant, so donation is only possible when the donor dies in a hospital.  While these organs are the ones that come to mind when we think of organ donation, there are less restrictions on many other donations such as corneas, skin, heart valves, bone, cartilage, veins, tendons and ligaments and they have many valuable uses. Donation of these tissues alone can make a huge difference in the life and health of someone else.

Becoming an organ donor is easy and is appropriate for people of any age. While the heart of an octogenarian may not be suitable for donation, we have cared for donors whose skin and other tissues have been used to help others. Our funeral directors encourage everyone to consider registering as a donor.

Many people register at Registry of Motor Vehicles when they renew their licenses and are listed in the donor registry. You do not need to have a confirmation letter or a sticker on your driver’s license for organ donation to occur. However, it is wise to tell your family, your Health Care Proxy, and your doctor that you’re a registered organ donor, so that they can support your wish to help others. You can also make your wishes known through an Advanced Directive, through pre-planning your funeral arrangements with your funeral director or directly through an organ procurement organization.

Our funeral directors are very experienced with caring for those who choose organ donation and work closely with New England Donor Services and its New England Organ Bank. The New England Organ Bank is the oldest independent organ procurement organization in the United States and treats every donor with great dignity and respect. For more information or to register as a donor, please visit

If you have questions and concerns about cremation or organ donation, the cremation experts at Keohane can help. Please call us at 1-800-KEOHANE to find out which of the many options available are right for your family.



01/27/2022 at 11:22 am

If you die at home you can still be an organ donor. The types of organs that can be donated would be limited.

Theresa LaSalle

01/27/2022 at 7:46 am

Do I have this straight...if you die at home and not in a hospital, you cannot be an organ donor? Thanks..

John Keohane

11/07/2021 at 4:53 pm

Yes, you can have a viewing even after donating organs. Please reach out to us if you have any other questions we can help with.

Ronald Stork

11/07/2021 at 2:54 pm

can you still have a viewing if you donate organs?


05/08/2021 at 11:34 am

Hi Virginia, This is the link to to New England Donor Services to register as an organ/tissue donor: If you live outside of New England, most regions of the country have donor services organizations that you could register with. We would also recommend that you register as an organ/tissue donor in connection with your drivers license and make sure to communicate your wishes with your family. Thank you for your question. Sincerely, Dennis Keohane

Virginia Menkes

05/07/2021 at 9:35 pm

I've made arrangements for Cremation already, BUT before Cremation,I want to be an organ /tissue donor what do I need to do to makethis happen?

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