Frequently Asked Questions

While donation of organs for transplantation is generally well known and widely accepted, research donation is an option that people willing to donate should not overlook. Scientists need human organs and tissue for important research leading to treatments and cures for a multitude of diseases.

What organs and tissue can be donated for research?

The need for specific organs and tissue is determined by current research studies. Virtually every system of the human body has potential and valuable use for research.

Does donation for research compete with donation for transplantation?

Never. Organ and tissue transplants take precedence over any other need. The circumstances of death and the medical history of the donor, however, may determine suitability for transplantation. Donation for research provides a viable option for willing donors and donor families when transplantation is not possible.

Can I be both a transplant donor and a research donor?

Yes. If you are a registered donor or a loved one authorizing donation for transplantation and/or research, you will sign an authorization/consent document for both and those responsible for recovering and placing your organs for transplantation will make every effort to see that your wishes with regard to research are fulfilled.

How important is donation for research?

It’s crucial. Everyone understands that a single organ donation for transplantation can save a life. The benefits of research donation are equally valuable. Medical researchers are working with donated organs and tissue to achieve breakthroughs in medicine, saving and improving millions of lives.

For what types of research entities are organs and tissue donated?

IIAM places donor organs and tissue with qualified academic, governmental, pharmaceutical, biotech and private research institutions. All such recipients of donor tissue must complete an application/agreement and be approved by IIAM’s Application Review Committee.

Who can donate?

Most people can donate for research. Age is not a barrier to research donation. Often times, neither is a donor’s medical condition. In fact, a medical history that might make someone an unsuitable organ or tissue transplant donor may be the very thing a researcher is looking for to carry out important studies. Certain infectious diseases may rule out research donation. Contact an IIAM coordinator for more information.

If I donate for research, is there any chance that my organs and tissue will be sold for profit?

The National Organ Transplant Act (NOTA) prohibits the buying and selling of human organs. IIAM works with both not-for-profit and for-profit or commercial entities, all of whom complete an IIAM Application/Agreement and demonstrate medical or educational merit in their work that requires human organs and/or tissue. This information is explained to the legal next of kin or on the donor registry before authorization/consent is obtained.

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