Each year, thousands of lives are saved and improved by the gift of organ and tissue donation. With this in mind, UCSF Health has partnered with our local donor registry and organ procurement agency to ensure that, whenever possible, we accommodate those who wish to donate lifesaving organs and tissue.
Organ, Eye and Tissue Donation
Although more than 1 million people in the U.S. have registered as donors, the number of people on the waiting list for organ or tissue donation continues to be much larger than the number of donors. For this reason, UCSF Health encourages everyone to sign up to donate.
The donation process at UCSF Health
When a patient at UCSF Health is on life support and death is imminent, our organ procurement agency, Donor Network West (DNW), will work closely with the family to provide information and assistance regarding the donation process. If the family makes a donation request following the death of the loved one, UCSF Health staff will work collaboratively with DNW and the family to ensure the request is accommodated. Any decisions relating to the involvement of UCSF Health in the anatomical gift and donation process will be guided by legal statute and established policy.
The benefits of organ and tissue donation
- Corneas. Prevents blindness and restores vision.
- Whole eyes. Used in the reconstruction of the eye orbit or reconstruction of the eye surface. This donation also assists in medical training and research into the causes and cures for blindness.
- Bone. Promotes healing, restores mobility and prevents amputation. This donation can assist research in the causes of and cures for orthopedic bone defects, diseases and trauma.
- Skin. Promotes healing, prevents fluid loss and helps decrease infection in burn and trauma patients. This donation greatly aids reconstructive surgery.
- Heart valves. These are used as a replacement for a defective valve, which is especially important as the new graft valve does not calcify and there is no rejection of tissue. This procedure is especially beneficial for children with heart conditions.
- Saphenous veins. These veins restore blood circulation and can prevent limb amputations.
- Soft tissues. Tendons and ligaments restore mobility and improve patients' quality of life.