Despite continuing efforts at public education, misconceptions and inaccuracies about donation persist. Learn these facts to help you better understand organ, eye and tissue donation:
- A doctor’s first priority is to save your life, whether you are a donor or not. Organ, eye and tissue recovery takes place only after all efforts to save your life have been exhausted and death has been legally declared. The doctors trying to save your life are completely separate from the medical team involved in recovering and transplanting organs and tissues.
- People of all ages and medical histories can register as donors. Medical suitability is determined case-by-case, at the time of death. Even a person with a serious health problem like diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, or other conditions may still be able to donate at the time of death. Potential donors are carefully screened prior to transplant to ensure that organs/tissues are safe for recipients.
- A national computer system and strict standards are in place to ensure ethical and fair distribution of organs. Organs are matched by blood and tissue typing, organ size, medical urgency, waiting time, and geographic location.
- An open casket funeral is possible for organ, eye and tissue donors. Through the entire donation process the body is treated with care, respect and dignity.
- There is no cost to the donor’s family for donation.
- It is illegal to buy and sell organs and tissue for transplant in the US.
- All major religions support organ, eye and tissue donation as an act of charity. To find out a specific religious group’s official position on organ and tissue donation and transplantation, click here.
Still have questions? First, use the search function at the top of this page to find references throughout our site or click here for FAQ’s. If you can’t find what what you’re looking for please email us your question by clicking here.