Video: How Does it Work?

the essentials in 5 minutes

The Donation Process

1. Brain Death

Every day, people are faced with life-threatening injuries and conditions. Emergency medical personnel utilize lifesaving procedures and every effort is made to save the patient. However, sometimes it just isn’t enough.

2. Referral

Once a patient has been determined brain dead by at least two different physicians, the hospital will refer the patient to a local organ procurement organization (OPO).

3. Evaluation

The OPO evaluates and determines if organ donation is still an option for the patient.

4. Approach and Consultation

If a patient is eligible for organ donation, the OPO will consult with the family and will notify them if their loved one was a registered organ donor.

5. Organ Recovery

Once authorization is given either by the organ donation registry or the family, the organs are recovered and used to save the lives of people waiting on the organ transplant waiting list.

Conditions that May Lead to Need for Organ Transplant


  • Liver failure
  • End-state liver disease
  • Liver cancer


  • Heart Disease
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • General weakening of the heart muscle


  • Kidney failure
  • Diabetes
  • High Blood Pressure


  • Intestinal failure
  • Total Parenteral Nutrition
  • Short bowel syndrome


  • Pulmonary hypertension
  • Cystic Fibrosis
  • Lung Cancer


  • Diabetes

Support for Transplant Recipients

If you're a transplant recipient, you can find support from many different types of groups.

Hospital Support Groups

These groups are usually run by the hospital transplant coordinator, social worker or another member of the transplant team, and may consist of patients who are pre- or post-transplant or are hospitalized with transplant-related problems. They typically meet more frequently than non-hospital groups.

Local Support Groups

Local support groups are usually run by transplant patients and are made up of pre- and post-transplant patients and their families. They allow members who have already had their transplant to help you with the adjustment to a more normal, everyday lifestyle. Many have monthly meetings and special events.

Telephone Networks

Through your hospital or support group, telephone networking can introduce you to other patients who share similar experiences from the comfort of your own home. You may get to know other patients perhaps with the same type of transplant, condition, and/or transplant center who can offer help and knowledge from their own transplant experiences.

Internet Support Groups

These groups can provide you with a broad range of experiences from all over the world. In addition, internet support groups allow you to ask personal questions in the comfort of your own home and with the immediacy of the web.

Professional Organizations

Professional organizations provide educational seminars, materials and activities. They also may conduct fundraising to support research and help shape healthcare policy.