Organ, Tissue & Body Donation

Organ, Tissue & Body Donation

Organ, tissue and body donation is personal choice that every person should consider in advance. There are several ways a person can choose to donate. The information below is general in nature, and each organization will have criteria that their donors must meet in order to qualify to be a donor of any kind. If you are considering donating any portion of your body it is important that you talk to the individual organizations directly and have clear understanding about how your body will be used.

Organ, Eye, and Tissue Donation (Transplant Donation)

Organ donation is the process of giving an organ or a part of an organ for the purpose of transplantation into another person. That could be vital organ that could save the life of another person. It could also be the corneas of the eye, skin to help burn victims, long bones which can be used for bone graphs, heart valves and associated cardiovascular tissue, and connective tissues. These types of donations are highly regulated.

Every family is asked at the time of passing if they give consent for their loved one to be a donor. In most cases, this type of donation is typically done before the person is brought into the care of the funeral home and the company providing the services will then deliver the individual directly to the selected funeral home at no additional cost to the family. This type of donation does not usually affect the ability for the family to have a service with viewing.

Whole Body Donation (Non-Transplant Anatomical Donation)

Whole body donation is the process of donating a person’s whole body to science for medical research. This is a non-transplant anatomical donation. When considering whole body donation, it is extremely important that you are aware of how your body will be used. Who will benefit from it? Will your body be sold for a profit? Does the organization conform to and abide by the Uniform Anatomical Gift Act? How much of your body will be returned to your family? Will my body remain in the Oregon and Southwest Washington area?

There are two types of organizations that accept whole body donation: for-profit and not-for-profit.

  • Not-for-Profit - People can choose to donate their bodies to medical schools for training and medical research purposes. When this option is chosen the person’s body normally stays intact. If for any reason a portion of the person’s body is used separately, that part is labeled and returned at the completion so that the whole body can be cremated and returned back to the family. There are only two institutions in the State of Oregon that accept this type of donation and it is important to contact them directly to inquire further. There is a possibility that this type of donation would allow a family to have a service with viewing prior to the donation occurring.
  • For-profit - There are several for-profit companies that accept full body donation for medical research, training and testing purposes. In most cases, the person’s body is dismembered and the parts are then sold for a profit to a variety of different organizations and industries. The unused portion of the person’s body is what is cremated, and returned back to the family. This type of donation would not allow for a family to have a service with viewing or the persons body present.

Both of these types of organizations generally provide the cremation process at no cost to the donors family. It is important to note that both transplant and non-transplant donations require that certain criteria be met and it is at the sole discretion of the organization whether they will accept a donation.

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