Linking Organ & Tissue Donation to Medical Discovery
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Frequently Asked Questions

Please select from the list of our most frequently asked questions.

What is donation for education and research?
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 tissues for important research leading to treatments and cures for a multitude of diseases.

What organs and tissues can be donated for education and research?
The need for specific organs and tissues is determined by current education and research programs. Virtually every system of the human body has potential and valuable use for medical research, education and development.

Does donation for education and research compete with transplant donation?
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 and education 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 sign an informed consent document for both, 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. This also applies to a donor family making arrangements for a loved one.

How important is donation for research?
It's crucial. Everyone understands that a single organ donation can save a life. The benefits of research donation are equally valuable. Medical researchers are working with donated organs and tissues to achieve breakthroughs in medicine saving and improving millions of lives.

Where do organs and tissues donated for education and research go?
Upon request and approval, IIAM places donor organs and tissues with qualified academic, governmental, pharmaceutical, biotech and private research institutions. All such recipients of donor tissues must complete an application/agreement and be approved by IIAM's Application Review Committee.

Who can donate?
Most people can donate for medical research and education. 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 medical research/education,
is there any chance that my organs and tissues will be sold for profit?
The National Organ Transplant Act prohibits the sale of human organs and tissues. IIAM is a division of the Musculoskeletal Transplant Foundation (MTF), a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization, and was created to offer donors the option of donating for medical research and education. That is the sole purpose of our existence. IIAM follows standards and regulations for ethical and legal treatment of donors and anatomical gifts that do not condone the selling of organs and tissues entrusted to us by donors and donor families.

Is there any cost for families considering donation for medical education and research?
No. There is no cost to the donor or donor family.

Does donation for research rule out traditional funeral arrangements?
No. Organ and tissue donation for research may delay the transfer of a donor's body to the funeral home by no more than a few hours at most but will not interfere with funeral arrangements beyond this time. Furthermore, open casket services are not necessarily ruled out by donation.


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