Commonly Asked Questions About Organ and Tissue Donation

Should organs or tissues be donated?

This is a very personal decision. If appropriate, it should be discussed in advance. Your doctor and nurse will be happy to answer any questions you may have about this issue. Many excellent resources are available to help with this decision. Please visit the links listed below.

Does the patient's religion approve of organ donation?

Virtually all of the world's major religions recognize the life giving value of organ and tissue donation. Please visit the links below for detailed discussions of this topic.

What organs can be donated?

Transplanted human organs include heart, kidneys, lungs, pancreas, liver, and intestines. In most cases the transplant procedure is highly successful and has great potential to save the life or improve the quality of life of the organ recipient.

What kind of tissues can be donated?

Transplanted human tissues include bone, the clear covering of the eye called the cornea, skin, heart valves, veins, cartilage and other tissues. These tissues can be used to treat patients suffering from a wide variety of problems including birth defects, blindness, eye sight impairment, injuries, burns, dental defects, arthritis, cancer, vascular and heart disease. Tissue transplantation can save lives for some and improve the quality of life for many.

What does it cost the donor's family to donate organs or tissues?

There is no charge to the family of a donor. All costs related to organ and tissue donation are paid by the recipient. Medicare or private insurance usually covers the costs for the recipient.

Can organs be bought and sold in the United States?

No. Congress is appropriately concerned that buying and selling of organs might lead to unfair access to donor organs and tissues. Therefore, it is illegal to sell human organs and tissue (Public Law 98-507 - National Organ Transplant Act). Violators are subject to fines and imprisonment.

Who will get the donated organs/tissues?

This depends upon on a number of factors including blood and tissue typing, medical urgency, time on the organ recipient waiting list, and geographical location of the donor and the recipient.

What about donating the entire body to medical science?

Medical schools, research facilities and other agencies study bodies to improve understanding of disease mechanisms and advance medical science. To donate the entire body, contact the facility of your choice.

Will organ or tissue donations disfigure the body? Do they interfere with funeral plans?

Organ and tissue donations do not disfigure the body and do not interfere with funeral plans, including open casket service.


Organ Donation
This governmental website, provided by the Dept. of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) includes general information and frequently asked questions (FAQ's) about organ donation.

Transplantation and Organ Donation
All about transplantation and organ donation, including religious perspectives.