People of all ages and medical histories should consider themselves potential donors. The medical condition of the donor at the time of death will determine what organs and tissue can be donated.
Organ and tissue donation becomes an option only after all life-saving measures have been taken and death has been declared.
The decision to donate does not interfere with your medical care. Consent for donation is confirmed, and the family is asked to participate in the process by providing a medical history.
Surgical procedures are used to recover donated organs and tissues. Donation does not delay or change funeral arrangements, and an open casket is possible.
All major religions support organ and tissue donation.
Organs are distributed based on medical information like blood type, body size and tissue type matching through a national computer network operated by the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS).
It is illegal to distribute organs based on non-medical information such as wealth, citizenship or celebrity status.
It is illegal to buy and sell organs in the United States.
Donated organs, including the heart, pancreas, kidneys, liver, lungs and intestines are gifts to restore life.
Tissue is needed to replace bone, tendons, and ligaments lost to trauma, cancer and other diseases in order to improve stregnth, mobility and independance.
Corneas are needed to restore sight.
Skin grafts help burn patients heal, and often mean the difference between life and death.