What is the difference between tissue and organs?

The body’s tissues include bone, skin, heart valves, connective tissue and veins. Organs include the heart, lungs, kidneys, intestines, pancreas and liver.

How do I designate that I want to be a tissue donor?

Making the commitment to donate differs from state to state. Visit DonateLife.net to find out how to become a donor.

Why is it important for me to talk about donation with my family?

Because your family members make the final decision about donation if you have not registered your wishes to donate. Talking about donation does not mean talking about death. Talking about donation is talking about the opportunity to help others and to make sure your family understands your wishes.

Are there any costs to the family for donation?

There is no cost to donor families for donation. Families pay only for medical care provided to the donor before death and for the donors funeral expenses.

Will donation affect funeral arrangements?

No. Donation does not interfere with funeral or burial arrangements, including open-casket viewings. Also, donation does not affect the timing of the funeral or burial arrangements.

Can I specify only certain tissues for donation?

Yes. Specific tissues may be donated and others excluded, depending on the wishes of the donor or the donor’s family.

Are there age restrictions to tissue donation?

No. The gift of life can be given at any age. The donor’s general health and physical condition are taken into consideration, and tissue from any donor is tested and evaluated to determine its usability.

What if a person is found to be medically unsuitable to donate tissue for transplant?

Donation for research or education are additional options. Universities, medical centers and biotechnology companies are in need of human cells, tissues and organs. Research and education are instrumental in promoting scientific advances and improving patient care in many medical fields including biochemistry, cardiology, ophthalmology and transplantation.

Does the religious community support donation?

All major religions support donation as a compassionate expression of generosity and love. During the National Donor Sabbath (observed each November), religious leaders discuss donation in sermons and classes.

Can people sell their tissue?

No. The National Organ Transplant Act makes it illegal to sell human organs and tissues. The law does allow recovery organizations to charge reasonable fees to cover costs incurred during the recovery process.