More than 1 million Connecticut residents have joined the Donor Registry, a simple sign-up through the state Department of Motor Vehicles or Donate Life New England that pledges their organ and tissue for medical purposes upon their death.

Becoming a living donor, however, is a more complicated process that begins with a visit to your primary care physician to determine if you’re a suitable candidate. Those ineligible include anyone treated for cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, kidney stones, HIV or other communicable diseases.

But most people can donate. Hartford Hospital, which performs about 60 kidney transplants a year, uses its Transplant Center to screen and prepare potential donors.

“We have a living donor advocate, we have a whole team that evaluates the donor separately to make sure they understand the risks,” says Dr. Patrizia Sheiner, Hartford Hospital’s director of transplant surgery. “Many times they pass with flying colors and they can give the gift of life.

For more information, call the Transplant Center at860.972.4219   or visit Hartford Hospital’s Transplant Services/Organ Donations online.