What organs and tissues can be donated?
- Eight vital organs can be donated: heart, kidneys (2), pancreas, lungs (2), liver, and intestines. Hands and faces have also recently been added to the list.
- Tissue: cornea, skin, heart valves, bone, blood vessels, and connective tissue
- Bone marrow and stem cells, umbilical cord blood, peripheral blood stem cells (PBSC)
If I’m a registered donor, will it affect the medical care I receive at the hospital?
No! The medical team trying to save your life is separate from the transplant team. Every effort is made to save your life before donation becomes a possibility.
Will donation disfigure my body? Can there be an open casket funeral?
Donation does not interfere with having an open casket service. Surgical techniques are used to retrieve organs and tissues, and all incisions are closed.
Are there any costs to my family for donation?
No. Your family pays for your medical care and funeral costs, but not for organ donation. Costs related to donation are paid by the recipient, usually through insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid.
Can I sell my organs?
No! The National Organ Transplant Act (Public Law 98-507) makes it illegal to sell human organs and tissues in the United States. Violators are subject to fines and imprisonment.
One reason Congress made this law was to make sure the wealthy do not have an unfair advantage for obtaining donated organs and tissues. (Source: OPTN white paper on bioethics—Financial Incentives for Organ Donation, June 30, 1993)