What Is The Difference Between Organ Donation And Whole-Body Donation?

Organ Donation

Organ donation involves removing specific organs from an individual while maintaining their body after brain death.  Organs are used to save another person's life or improve certain functions such as sight.

As a card-carrying member of the Organ Donor Registry, you have volunteered to donate your corneas, skin, heart valves, and tendons--even your bones and tissues if necessary.  Other organs that may be donated include the heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, pancreas, and intestines.

Very few potential organ donors qualify for organ donation at brain death.  There are several reasons for that, including the viability and age of potentially donated organs.

Typically, the organs of older individuals and people with certain diseases (such as cancer) are not eligible for most organ donations.

Whole-Body Donation and Brain Donation

Whole-body donation and brain donation take place after death.  There is no question about the viability of organs; they are not viable, nor are they implanted in living individuals.

Whole-body and brain donation are for scientific purposes, including neurological research, organ research, the training of physicians and surgeons, and the development of implantable devices and new pharmaceuticals.

Most people qualify for whole-body and brain donation at the time of death.

Whole-body donation is an excellent alternative for older adults and individuals who do not otherwise qualify for organ donation.