Allograft Resources, a department of the UT Transplant Centera department of the UT Transplant CenterAllograft Resources

Myths and Facts about Organ and Tissue Donation

 
Myth:
It costs money to donate.
Fact:
Donor families are not charged for the medical costs associated with organ and tissue donation.
 
Myth:
Donation disfigures the body and delays the funeral.
Fact:
Donation surgery includes careful reconstruction of the body and doesn't interfere with funeral plans, including open-casket services. Most donations take place within 24 hours after death, so funeral arrangements will not be delayed.
 
Myth:
Signing a donor card is pointless.
Fact:
Signing a donor card, and discussing your decision with family members, is the best way to assure that your personal wishes will be carried out.
 
Myth:
Donation is painful for the donor's family.
Fact:
Studies show that donation most often provides immediate and long-term consolation. Donation can be especially comforting when the death is unexpected and the donor is young.
 
Myth:
Donating organs and tissues goes against religious beliefs.
Fact:
All major religions support donation and have provided statements for their worshipers.
 
Myth:
If emergency room doctors know you're an organ and tissue donor, they won't work as hard to save you.
Fact:
If you are sick or injured and admitted to the hospital, the number one priority is to save your life. Donation can only be considered if you die and after your family has been consulted.
 
Myth:
Having "organ and tissue donor" noted on your driver's license or carrying a donor card is all you have to do to become a donor.
Fact:
While a signed donor card and a driver's license with an "organ and tissue donor" designation are legal documents, organ and tissue donation is always discussed with family members prior to the donation. To ensure that your family understands your wishes, it is important that you share your decision to donate LIFE.
 
Myth:
I am 60 years old. I am too old to be a donor.
Fact:
People of all ages and medical histories should consider themselves potential donors. Your medical condition at the time of death will determine what organs and tissue can be donated.
 
Myth:
My family will be charged for donating my organs and tissues.
Fact:
There is no cost to the donor's family or estate for organ and tissue donation. Funeral costs remain the responsibility of the family.
 
 
Did you know?
Fact:
There are over 900,000 tissue implantations performed annual in the U.S.
 
Did you know?
Fact:
More than 500,000 of the tissue implants performed were bone and connective tissue.
 
Did you know?
Fact:
One tissue donor can help up to 80 people.
 
Did you know?
Fact:
There is an estimated 10,000 tissue donors per year.
 
Did you know?
Fact:
The first organ/tissue transplantation possibly occurred as early as 600 BC. Sushruta was an Indian surgeon who detailed a use of rhinoplasty in his book, Sushruta Samhita. Historians believe this more likely occurred closer to 400 BC. If you're of the opinion that Sushruta's work was only theoretical, then perhaps you can believe that the first skin transplant occurred in 1822 by Berger.
 
Did you know?
Fact:
In 300 AD, the patron saints of Medicine, Cosmos and Damian, reportedly transplanted the leg of a recently deceased Moor onto an amputee in Turkey.
 
Did you know?
Fact:
In 1880, Sir William Mac Ewen is credited with the first human bone transplant under aseptic conditions. He used the tibia of an amputee with marginal success. This surgery was performed in Scotland.
 
 

Frequently Asked Questions:

 

When is tissue removed?
Eye and tissue removal is performed shortly after death with surgically trained technicians. The sooner tissue is removed the sooner funeral arrangements can be made and closure of the death of that loved one can take place.

 

How does the donor family benefit from tissue donation?
Donation frequently comforts a grieving family. Making a gift of renewed life can honor the donor and bring solace to the survivors. Visit our families who have made the decision to donate.

 

Do recipients know the identity of their donor family?
Gifts of sight and life are made anonymously. It is customary to honor the confidentiality of the donor and the recipient. Although there are ways of finding out who the recipients of tissue are, most want to remain anonymous.

 

How is tissue determined to be suitable for transplant?
Tissue is evaluated for safety and quality. It is also tested for HIV and other infectious diseases. Only tissue that is determined medically suitable is provided for surgery.

 

How do religious institutions feel about tissue donation?
Donation is consistent with the beliefs and attitudes of all major religions.
Click here for more information.

 

How is donated tissue used?
Every year, thousands of people receive life saving, reconstructive or cosmetic surgeries. These gifts are made possible by family members who consent to donation after the death of a loved one. One tissue donor can benefit a seventy or more patients in need of surgical procedures!

 

Should I mention my desire to be a tissue donor in my will?
Telling your family of your wishes is crucial because donated tissue must be retrieved as soon as possible after death. By the time a will is read, it is too late. However, leaving a financial contribution to the eye and/or tissue bank in your will ensures that our vital work can continue.