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Frequently Asked Questions

Anyone of any age or with any kind of medical history can choose to save lives through donation. Your health, age and lifestyle should not be factors in your decision to help others in the event of your death. Even people with chronic medical conditions and infectious diseases may be able to donate. Which organs and tissue can actually be used will be determined at the time of your death. Don’t rule yourself out; you can save lives!
The heart, liver, kidneys, lungs, small intestine and pancreas are organs that can be donated. Transplantable tissue includes: bone to prevent amputation; heart valves to replace defective or diseased valves; skin to act as a temporary covering for burn victims or those with severe wounds; corneas to restore sight; and ligaments and tendons to repair injured joints. Just one donor can save up to eight lives through organ donation and save or heal more than 75 lives through eye and tissue donation!
No, an open casket funeral is possible as donation does not limit funeral or burial arrangements. The body is treated with great respect and dignity throughout the donation process, and the donor’s appearance following donation still allows for an open-casket funeral. Once the organ and/or tissue recovery process is completed, the body is released to the donor’s family. The time required for the donation process varies depending on the organs and tissues recovered, and is generally completed within 24 to 48 hours. The recovery organization communicates with the family and/or funeral home during this timeframe.
No, your donation is a gift. There is no cost to the donor’s family or estate for organ and tissue donation. Recovery organizations assume all costs associated with recovering and processing organs and tissues for transplant once death has been declared and authorization is confirmed through the donor registry, or from the family in lieu of registration.
No. Saving your life comes first. Organ and tissue donation takes place only after all efforts to save your life have been exhausted and death has been legally declared. The doctors working to save your life are entirely separate from the medical team involved in recovering organs and tissues.
All major religions support organ, eye and tissue donation and view it as a final act of love and generosity.

Facilitation of requests for sharing of information are guided by respect for the confidentiality of donor families and recipients. Communication processes differ after organ, eye and tissue donation. Within a few weeks after organ donation occurs, the donor family will be notified of general information about the recipient(s), including age range, gender and residential region. Upon request, correspondence between donor families and recipients is facilitated by the recovery organization and transplant center in a way that ensures donor and recipient confidentiality.

Because one tissue donor may help many recipients over a more lengthy time frame, it is not possible to provide specifics initially. Communication with a donor family can be initiated by a recipient, and the recovery organization facilitates that process. In organ, eye and tissue donation, if correspondence continues over time and both parties agree to disclose identity, it may be possible for donor families and recipients to communicate directly. If both parties wish, people can meet each other in person, while others may be more comfortable communicating without direct contact. Either party may decline to correspond or meet for various reasons.

No. Living donation is another incredible way you can help save the life of someone waiting for an organ transplant. Through living donation, a living person can donate a kidney or part of the liver, lung, intestine or pancreas to another person in need of a transplant.