Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is a tissue donor?
Tissue donation is a life-enhancing and often life-saving gift of bone, skin, heart valves, veins, and connective tissue. These tissues are recovered from deceased donors and transplanted to recipient patients.
2. Does it cost anything to donate tissues?
No. Donating tissues cost nothing to the donor's family or estate.
3. What does my religion say about donation?
All major religions in the US approve of organ and tissue donation and consider it a gift - an act of charity. If you have any questions concerning your religion's views on donation, contact your religious advisor.
4. Will donation change the appearance of my body?
No. Donation neither disfigures the body nor interferes with funeral arrangements.
5. Will my decision to become an organ and tissue donor affect the quality of my medical care?
No. Recovery of organs and tissues take place only after all life saving efforts to save your life have been exhausted and death has been declared. The doctors and medical staff working to save your life are entirely separate from the medical professionals involved in recovering organs and tissues.
6. Can organs and corneas be recovered along with tissue?
Yes. During the recovery of tissues, organs may also be recovered if the donor meets the appropriate medical criteria. Corneas, the clear covering of the eye, can also be donated to restore sight to someone in need.
7. How are the tissues recovered?
After authorization for donation from the next of kin has been established, the tissues agreed upon for donation are recovered by medical professionals in a surgical procedure that takes place under aseptic conditions. This procedure is done in a timely manner, and must occur within 24 hours of the time of death.
8. Where are the tissues used?
Approximately 1.5 million tissue transplants are performed each year. One tissue donor can restore the health and heal the lives of more than 50 people. Long bones may be used to replace those that have be invaded by cancer and prevent the need for amputation. Damaged tendons and ligaments may be reconstructed as well, allowing them to heal and regain strength. Skin can be used to save patients from life-threatening burns. It is also used for hernia repair, pelvic floor reconstruction, and for breast reconstruction following mastectomy. Heart valves are used to replace damaged heart valves. Saphenous and femoral veins from the legs are used in cardiac bypass surgery for patients who have suffered cardiovascular (heart) disease.
9. Can anyone be a donor?
Most healthy individuals are candidates for donation. Anyone can choose donation. To learn more about organ, tissue and eye donation in your state click below.