Organ donation is when an organ (e.g., heart, lung, kidney) is removed from one person and transplanted into another person.
Tissue donation is when tissues in the body (e.g., skin, corneas, bone) are removed from one person and transplanted into another person.
Sometimes, an organ donor may be a
living donor. This means that donating the organ will not harm the person. An example of this is when a brother gives 1 of his 2 kidneys to his sister or a mother gives part of her liver to her child.
Organs can only be donated if:
An organ donor usually dies an unexpected, tragic death after a severe brain injury. This often happens because of a motor vehicle accident, bleeding in the brain, or a trauma like a very bad fall.
Tissues do not require the same conditions as organs to survive, so tissue donation is possible after the heart and lungs have stopped working.
Tissues for donation must be removed within 12 to 24 hours after a person dies. The donor doesn’t need to be maintained on a ventilator.
The criteria for organ and tissue donation can change and there may be certain reasons a person can’t donate. It’s often related to a person’s medical or social history, or illnesses. The organs and tissues have to be healthy and the donor must not have any diseases that could harm the recipient.
Organs that can be donated include:
Tissues that can be donated include:
Yes. You can donate a kidney, part of the liver, or part of the lung. To learn more, ask your family doctor to refer you to a specialist, or call the Living Donor Program for more information.
There are Living Donor Programs in Calgary and Edmonton. You can make a living donation of a kidney, part of a lung, or part of a liver to someone you know at The University of Alberta Hospital in Edmonton. You can make a living kidney donation at The Southern Alberta Transplant Program in Calgary.
You can also make living tissue donations of the amniotic sac after childbirth if you are having a planned cesarean section and the top part of the thigh bone (femoral head) after a hip replacement.
Current as of: January 13, 2017
Author: Organ and Tissue Donation Programs, Alberta Health Services