Get the Facts
Organ and tissue donation occurs after a person has died. Transplantable organs and tissue can be donated to help the lives of individuals in need. Additional information can be found at Understanding Donation.
Anatomical gift means a donation of all or part of a human body, after death, for the purpose of transplantation, therapy, research or education.
Donation is important because thousands of people die or suffer needlessly each year due to a lack of organ and tissue donors. A transplant is often the only hope. A single donor can save the lives of up to eight (8) people and enhance the lives of at least 50 others.
Vital organs and tissues can be donated for transplantation. Organ donation is an option for people who have been declared legally dead by brain death criteria. Tissue donation is an option for people who have been declared legally dead by brain or cardiac death criteria.
- Organs – heart, kidneys, pancreas, lungs, liver, and small intestine. Visit organdonor.gov for more information. Organ transplants are life-saving.
- Tissue – cornea, skin, bone, heart valves, blood vessels, and tendons. Tissue donation such as skin for burn victims or eye donations for sight-restoring cornea transplants give people a chance to lead full, productive lives. For more details about tissues that can be donated and how they are used to help others visit our Donation Types page
- Bone Marrow – a living donation
Organs must be recovered as soon as possible after death is legally declared. Tissue can be removed up to 24 hours after death.