Frequently Asked Questions
Does the donor family incur any costs for organ donation?
No, the donor’s family never pays for organ or tissue donation.
Which organs/tissues can be donated?
The heart, kidneys, liver, pancreas, intestines and lungs are classified as organs and can be donated through deceased donation. A living donor can donate a kidney or a portion of the liver, lung, or intestine.
Some of the tissues that can be donated include skin, bone, corneas, heart valves, middle ear, blood vessels and connective tissues.
Does organ or tissue donation leave the body disfigured?
No, there is no disfigurement or delay in holding the funeral services. An open casket may be held if desired.
If I indicate on my driver’s license that I want to be a donor, is that enough?
Most states encourage you to sign your driver’s license indicating your wishes. The Living Bank's Donor Registration form is placed in the registry of Donate Life Texas. An important element in becoming an organ donor is that you discuss your wishes with your family. In 1986, legislation was passed which required all hospitals to develop protocol to ask a family member for permission to procure the organs of the patient at the time of impending death.
Can I change my mind after I sign a donor card and become part of the Registry?
Yes. Inform the Registry and your family of your wishes and destroy your donor card.
What do I do if I change my name or address?
Please notify the Registry of your name or address change and we will update your file.
Who manages the distribution of organs?
The United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) maintains the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN). Through UNOS national computer system, organ donors are matched to waiting recipients 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
When must organs/tissues be removed?
Donated organs will be removed as soon as possible after determination of brain death. Donated tissues must be removed within 24 hours of death.
What is the definition of brain dead?
Death occurs in two ways: cession of cardiopulmonary function and cessation of brain function. Brain death occurs when a person has an irreversible, catastrophic brain injury which causes all brain activity to stop permanently.
Can organs be transplanted between sexes and races?
Yes. The determining factors are the matching of blood type and body size between the donor and the recipient.
Will the identity of the recipients be revealed to the donor family?
The identity of both the donor and the recipient usually remain confidential.
Are there religious objections to organ and tissue donation?
Nearly every religion in the United States officially supports organ and tissue donation or supports individual choices of its members. Donation is viewed by most religions as an act of compassion and generosity. In 1997, the United States Department of Health and Human Services launched National Donor Sabbath as a three day observance held the Friday, Saturday and Sunday two weeks before Thanksgiving. The observance was established to engage leaders of all major faiths and denominations to bring attention to the precious gift of organ donation to their congregation.
How long must a patient wait for a transplant?
The time a patient spends on the waiting list for an organ can vary from a few days to several years. The length of the wait is affected by several factors, such as the urgency of their medical condition and the availability of donated organs.