Who can donate and what organizations are my local resources? Anyone, newborns to senior citizens can be potential tissue and organ donors. Eligibility may be affected by medical/social history, cause of death, etc., and is determined on a case-by-case basis at the time of death. Local resources include Life Alaska Donor Services, Alaska's tissue bank headquartered in Anchorage and LifeCenter Northwest, the federally designated OPO (Organ Procurement Organization) headquartered in Bellevue, Washington.
Will my decision to become a donor affect the quality of my medical care? No. A transplant team does not become involved until other physicians involved in the patient's care have determined that all possible efforts to save the patient's life have failed.
How do you determine who receives organs? The United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) was created to ensure the equitable allocation of organs for transplantation. Patients on the waiting list are matched with organs anonymously, using medical and logistical factors.
Will donation disfigure my body? Can there be an open casket funeral? Donation does not disfigure the body nor change the way it looks in the casket. Donation does not interfere with funeral arrangements.
Is my family responsible for any of the costs of donation? No. The donor's family is responsible only for hospital charges not involved with the donation. Families are also responsible for the funeral arrangements and costs.
Does my religion approve of donation? Most major religious groups in the U.S. approve of and support donation. If you have any questions about your religion's specific beliefs, you should discuss them with your spiritual leader.
Can I choose what is donated? Yes. When registering you can specify what tissues and organs you want to donate. You also have the option of choosing transplant only, research only, or both. It is possible for one person to donate their heart, liver, lungs, kidneys, pancreas, heart valves, skin, corneas, bone, as well as cartilage and tissues in order to save or greatly improve the lives of over 50 people.
Should I share my decision for donation with my family? Yes. Even though you have consented to becoming a donor you should share your wishes with your family. It will make the donation process much easier for them if you have shared your wishes prior to your death.