Organs & Tissues

  1. Corneas

    Allow light to enter eye.  Transplantation restores sight to those with corneal damage.

  2. Skin

    Protects the body from dehydration, injury and infection.
    Used as treatment for burn patients.
    Decreases pain, infection, scarring, heat and fluid loss.

  3. Lungs

    Organs of respiration
    Transplantation treats cystic fibrosis, emphysema, or other end-stage lung disease.

  4. Heart

    Pumps blood to all body systems.
    Transplantation is treatment for end-stage heart disease.

  5. Valves

    Direct flow of blood through heart.  Transplantation replaces diseased heart valves.

  6. Liver

    Instrumental in energy regulation, makes proteins, removes waste from blood.
    Transplantation is treatment for end-stage liver disease.

  7. Bones

    Supports the body, protects vital organs.

    Used in facial reconstruction, prevention of amputation, correction of birth defects, cancer treatment, spinal fusion and oral surgery.

  8. Cartilage / Ligaments

    Connective tissue.
    Used in facial and other reconstructive surgery.

  9. Veins

    Transport blood.
    Used for coronary by-pass surgery to replace diseased or blocked arteries.

  10. Kidneys

    Extract waste from the blood and produce important hormones.
    Transplantation eliminates need for dialysis for patients with end-stage kidney disease.

  11. Pancreas

    Secretes enzymes necessary for digestion, secretes insulin that helps regulate blood sugar.
    For treating diabetes, transplantation eliminates the need for insulin injections, reduces risk of losing sight or limb.

  12. Intestines

    Digestive organ that absorbs water, electrolytes and nutrients for the body.
    Transplantation treats malabsorption, a disease that prevents the absorption of necessary nutrients (most common in young children).

Diagram of human body

Get Informed

There are currently over 100,000 patients waiting for a life-saving transplant in the United States. Every 14 minutes, another name is added to the UNOS waiting list and an average of 18 people dies everyday due to the lack of transplantable organs. You can help save the lives of others. One donor can save or enhance the life of up to 50 people.

Who can be an organ donor? In order to be an organ donor, a person must be declared brain dead and must remain on a ventilator in order to preserve the vital organs. Brain death occurs when there is a complete and irreversible stopping of all brain functions. This is caused by a recent insult or injury to the brain, which may result from a stroke, head injury or ruptured blood vessel in the brain. After brain death is declared, a patient may continue on a ventilator (or breathing support) which enables oxygen to reach the lungs and the heart to continue beating, but there is no recovery from brain death. Brain death is permanent and cannot be reversed. It is a legal definition of death.

What organs can be transplanted? There are 8 transplantable organs in the human body, including heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, intestine and pancreas. Every organ is carefully evaluated before donation to ensure it can be transplanted successfully. All donors are treated with dignity and respect. The donation process occurs in a sterile, surgical environment and is conducted by a team of medical professionals. Many organ donors may also be tissue donors after organ donation has occurred.

Who can be a tissue donor? Tissue donation may occur after brain death or cardiac death. Unlike organ donation, patients do not need to be maintained on a ventilator in order for donation to occur. Consequently, there are more opportunities for patients to become tissue donors after death. Tissue procurement occurs in a sterile, operating room environment. Every effort is made to complete the procurement as soon as possible after death.

What tissues can be donated? Tissues that may be donated include bone, heart valves, skin, cartilage, tendons, veins and corneas. These tissues can have an enormous impact on the lives of recipients. Some examples of the many uses for donated tissues include the following. Donated bone can prevent amputation in patients suffering from bone cancer. Tendons and cartilage can replace tissue lost or injured due to trauma, disease or infection. Veins can be used to re-establish blood circulation in heart bypass surgery, helping to prevent heart attacks. Donated skin may be used to help save the lives of severe burn victims and heart valves have the ability to “grow” with younger patients, reducing the need for repeated surgery. Cornea recipients are often given the chance to see for the first time. Overall, hundreds of thousands of people benefit from some form of tissue transplantation every year.

How can I make sure I’m a donor after death? If you are a New York State resident, you can join the New York State Donate Life Registry to document your decision to be an organ/tissue donor. The registry is a legal document of gift, meaning that enrolling in the registry gives your legal consent to donate organs/tissues if medically possible after death. The Registry is a confidential database maintained by the New York State Department of Health.

Save Lives through Donation & Transplant. Register now and become a donor!