How Donation Works
Have questions about how the miracle of donation and transplantation actually works? That’s okay. It’s a complex process designed to ensure the gifts of donors save as many lives as possible. Here’s everything you need to know.
Who can donate?
Not everyone who passes away can be an organ, eye or tissue donor. In fact, only a very small percentage of people die in a way that allows for their organs to be recovered for transplant. Because organs must continue to receive blood to be viable for transplant, most organ donors are those who suffer a traumatic injury that leads to brain death.
There are less stringent criteria to donate tissue and corneas. However, most tissue donors must pass away in a hospital setting.
Donors do not necessarily have to be registered on the Ohio Donor Registry to become a donor. For people that are not registered, a person’s next of kin will be asked to provide consent for donation to continue. However, registering on the Ohio Donor Registry ensures that your wishes to save and heal lives through organ, eye and tissue donation will be fulfilled!
Finding matching recipients and supporting the family
Once a potential donor has been identified, the Lifebanc team works to run all the proper tests to determine which organs may be viable for transplant. The team also gets to work matching organs with potential recipients around the country using a national computer system managed by the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS). For tissue donors, a Lifebanc staff member will work with the family to obtain a full medical-social history to determine which life-saving tissues may be recovered.
As this process is playing out, a member of Lifebanc’s family support staff stays with the donor’s family. Their job is to provide support during this difficult time and to update the family about the donor’s care. They will stay with the family for the entirety of the process.
Recovering the gifts
Once all necessary testing and matching are completed, Lifebanc coordinates a moment of silence to honor the donor’s incredible decision to give life to others. The team then works with transplant surgeons of recipients to carefully recover the organs in a setting that looks like any other surgery. An additional team recovers tissue.
Even after the successful recovery of a donor’s life-saving gifts, the Lifebanc team is not finished. Lifebanc will coordinate any necessary arrangements with funeral homes to ensure the most efficient transfer of a donor’s body.
The donor’s family can also enroll in a number of grief support services provided by Lifebanc at no cost. Once known, Lifebanc communicates the outcomes of each donor’s gifts in a manner that preserves privacy for both donors and recipients. Lifebanc then coordinates any and all correspondence between donor families and recipients and, when appropriate, provides contact information to the families.