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What organs and tissue can I donate?

People need transplants for many reasons, treating everything from genetic disorders to accidents.

Thanks to the latest medical advances, all the major organs including kidneys, heart, liver, lungs, pancreas and the small bowel can be transplanted.  In some cases, part of the organ such as heart valves or cells from the donated organs, such as the liver or the pancreas, are transplanted.  For example, islet cells from the pancreas can be used to treat people with some types of very severe Type 1 diabetes. Just as importantly, some donors may also be able to donate tissue.  One tissue donor can potentially enhance the lives of many people. This includes for example: corneas (which are part of your eyes)  and tendons. Donated tissue can be used to help people in many ways such as improving their eyesight or reconstructive surgery to help their bones and joints work better after a serious road traffic accident. This in turn may help an injured person walk again. Unlike organ donation, it may be possible to donate tissue up to 48 hours after a person has died.

Techniques are improving all the time and we may soon be able to transplant other parts of the body.  If you are willing to donate some organs or tissue, but not others, you can select just those you are willing to donate when you join the Organ Donor Register.