Many people have questions about the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) on organ and tissue donation and transplantation. To bring all the information to you, we contacted Donor Alliance, the federally-designated, non-profit organ procurement organization and an American Association of Tissue Banks (AATB) accredited tissue bank serving Colorado and most of Wyoming. As a recognized leader in facilitating the donation and recovery of transplantable organs and tissues, Donor Alliance’s mission is to save lives through organ and tissue donation and transplantation.
When it comes to organ, eye and tissue donation and transplantation, it’s important to get the facts, especially when discussing coronavirus and other diseases. Keep reading to learn more about COVID-19 and donation and transplantation.
Exposure to COVID -19 Does Not Prevent Future Donation: Recovered Coronavirus Patients May Be Eligible to be Organ Donors
A person who is through the acute phase of the disease may be eligible for organ donation now and in the future. Just as with other viral diseases, like the flu or Epstein Barr, historical exposure is not a rule out for donation.
Anyone, regardless of age, lifestyle or medical condition, can sign up to be a donor. Patients with chronic conditions such as diabetes, hepatitis and cancer can also potentially save and heal lives through donation. Eligibility for organ, eye and tissue donation is medically evaluated at the time of death.
Don’t rule yourself out. If you support organ, eye and tissue donation, we encourage you to sign up to be a donor now and let the medical professionals determine eligibility at that time.
Is Coronavirus a Rule-out for Organ Transplants?
With no existing treatment or cure, acute or active COVID-19 is currently a medical rule out for both organ and tissue donation. However, once recovered, donation and transplantation are both possible, as is the case with many other viral illnesses. As with many other illnesses, medical
science is likely to change that over time and even active coronavirus is not expected to be a rule out for donation in coming years, much like the flu.
The decision to utilize donor organs ultimately rests with transplant surgeons who manage complex decisions around patient care.
The Waitlist Can’t Wait: Why Does Organ Donation Matter, and What’s the Urgency?
Donor Alliance’s mission is to save lives through organ and tissue donation and transplantation. With nearly 2,000 people, including more than 181 Blacks and African Americans in our area waiting for a lifesaving transplant right now, the need for transplantable organs is an ongoing public health crisis.
The waitlist can’t wait; waitlist candidates’ illnesses do not pause, even as the world grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s why it so important that more people sign up to be organ, eye and tissue donors.
Continue to Advocate for Organ and Tissue Donation
Even though we have limited in-person activities, you can still help your community and show your support virtually! Visit our Facebook pages @DonateLifeColorado or @DoneVidaColorado to learn how you can join us in educating and inspiring public support of organ, eye and tissue donation or visit our website and sign up as an Advocates for Life Volunteer and complete training virtually.
Living Organ Donation
It is important to note the information above pertains to deceased organ and tissue donation. Living donation is facilitated directly through the transplant centers. Please contact one of the four transplant centers in our area for more information.
Thank you for your support of organ, eye and tissue donation. If you already registered as a donor, please take some time to discuss your decision with your loved ones. If you haven’t signed up yet, we encourage you to do so during this Holiday season and share the Gift of Life. One heroic decision can save and heal lives!