Ask Libby: “How old do I need to be to register as a donor?”

Libby Wolfe is the Project Manager at The Living Legacy Foundation of Maryland. Her main role is to act as a liaison and maintain a relationship with the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration. She often hears the same questions being asked while traveling between Maryland MVA branches and we thought it would be great to let her sound off on some of these questions. Libby will address a common question related to the Maryland donor registry in Ask Libby, a special feature on our blog, each month. Enjoy, and feel free to e-mail her your questions at

Dear Becca –

Congrats on turning 17 – this is such an exciting time in your life!  Getting your provisional license and making the decision to designate as an organ donor are just some of the important choices you get to make as you become a young adult. This question actually comes up quite a bit – from new drivers, parents and MVA employees. The quick answer to your question is – you should have been asked about your donor designation decision. You can either return to the MVA to update your donor designation to YES (this is free to do) or you can register online at

Here’s a more in-depth explanation about age and donor designation: At the MVA, the donor designation question should be asked during all drivers’ license or state ID transactions for persons ages 16 years and older. Drivers’ licenses, learners’ permits and state ID transactions are all eligible transactions where someone can designate as a donor.  During these transactions, persons 16 years and older can register their donor designation decision without parental authorization.

The new Revised Uniform Anatomic Gift Act (RUAGA) that became effective on October 1, 2011 supports donor designations for persons who are at least 13 years old who can join the online registry at Parents and legal guardians would have the ultimate decision should the option for donation be presented prior to a minor turning 18 years of age. This is one of the reasons it is important for minors to share their decision with their families.  Should a tragedy occur, families who have already had this conversation will have an easier time making decisions on behalf of their loved one.

I hope this helps answer your question and be sure to share this information with your family and friends so they can be informed too!


About libbydwolfe

Libby Wolfe is the Executive Director for Donate Life Maryland. She has over a decade of experience in the communications field working primarily in advertising and marketing. She is motivated everyday to encourage more Marylanders to say YES to organ donation and meet the need of those awaiting a transplant.
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