How You Can Donate Life: Different Types of Organ Donation

Imagine being able to save eight lives and help more than 75 people with one simple act.

By registering to become and organ, tissue, and eye donor, you can do exactly that. Being an organ donor is a generous gift that can impact and change the lives of so many people. But before registering as a potential donor, it is important to understand the different types of donation and what it truly means to donate life.

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Organ Donation

Every day, 22 people die while waiting for an organ to become available. Organ donors have the ability to save the life of someone on the transplant waiting list. In general, organ donation means that an entire organ or part of an organ can be removed from a donor and given to someone in need of a transplant.

The following organs can be donated:

There are two types of organ donation – living donation and deceased donation.

Living organ donation

For someone in need of liver transplant or kidney transplant, a living donor transplant may be possible. Living donation is when someone donates a portion of their liver or one of their kidneys to a patient while the donor is still alive. This offers an alternative for people waiting for a deceased donor, and it increases the number of organs available, saving more lives.

Living donors can be friends, spouses, family members, or altruistic donors who wish to help someone in need.

RELATED: Learn More About Living Donor Champions

Deceased organ donation

If living donation is not an option, an organ or part of an organ can be given at the time of the donor’s death. This is called deceased donation. Most transplants are done through deceased donation.

For a deceased donation to be possible, the person must be in the hospital and on a ventilator when they are pronounced brain dead. It is important to remember, that deceased donation is only possible after all attempts to save the patient’s life have been tried, and brain death has been declared.

Tissue Donation

In addition to organ donation, tissue donation can also be a life-saving solution to someone in need. In fact, each year about 1.5 million tissue transplants are performed. The types of tissue that can be donated includes:

  • Tendons
  • Valves
  • Veins
  • Skin
  • Bones

Cornea Donation

Cornea donation can restore sight for people who have gone blind. Almost anyone can be a cornea donor because age, eye color, and quality of sight will not impact your ability to donate.

You must be at least 18 years old to donate an organ, eye, or tissue.

Find Out How to Donate Life

Every organ, tissue, and eye donor can save lives. Visit the UPMC Donate Life website to learn more about organ donation and register to become a donor.