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Organ and Tissue Donation FAQs

Why should I become an organ donor?

At present around 7,500 people in the UK are waiting for an organ transplant that will either save or dramatically improve their lives. Three people a day will die before they have the opportunity to receive a transplant. As many people as possible need to be prepared to donate after their death to help reduce the waiting lists.

The idea that our death may help others is comforting. Looking back, friends and families often feel better knowing that some good has come out of the tragedy.

Will my treatment be different if I am on the organ donor register?

Organs are only removed after a person has died. Death is certified by a doctor or doctors independent of the transplant team. Doctors and nurses do everything possible to save a patient's life.

How are the organs removed?

The removal of organs takes place in the operating theatre, with the same care and respect as in any other operation.

Will my funeral be delayed?

There is no need for the funeral to be delayed following organ donation.

How to register to be an organ donor, in the event of your death

Please remember: it is important to discuss your wishes to be an organ donor with your family and friends.

We will need to discuss your wishes with them and gain their agreement if the time ever comes.

Carrying a donor card and/or putting your name on the register confirms your decision to be a donor if the time ever comes.

Tissue donation for transplantation

  • Heart valves can be transplanted to save the lives of children born with severely deformed hearts, or adults with diseased valves.
  • Corneas are transplanted to restore the sight in patients with diseased or opaque corneas. Sclera tissue is used in reconstructive surgery.
  • Bone grafts are used in a variety of orthopaedic procedures including joint replacement and spinal surgery.
  • Large sections of long bone can be transplanted to prevent limb amputation.
  • Skin grafts can act as a temporary or permanent biological covering and may save the life of a severely burned patient.
  • Tendons are transplanted to restore mobility and stability to young adults with traumatic knee injuries.

Tissue donation for research

Tissue may also be donated for scientific and medical research.

This includes:

  • brain and spinal cord tissue may be donated to help scientists understand conditions such as Parkinson’s and Alzeimers disease and to develop new treatments
  • ovarian and testicular tissue can be donated to help restore fertility for young patients who undergo sterilising chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment.

Contact us

For more information please contact:

Tissue Co-ordinators