Where does it come from?

Tissue donation: A gift of life helping millions of patients

Human tissue donation is a selfless, personal and fundamental decision. Each donation is treated respectfully as it is truly a gift of life. Tissue processors see themselves as stewards of this gift. They strive to produce high-quality tissue products that serve the purpose for which they were donated.

A tissue graft is a bone, ligament, cartilage, tendon, placenta or section of skin (also called “tissue”) that is transplanted from one person to another. Tissue grafts come from people who chose to donate their tissue after they die. Every year in the United States, surgeons use more than one million tissue grafts to help:

  • Athletes who need knee reconstruction
  • Women undergoing breast surgery
  • People with hard-to-heal wounds such as diabetic foot ulcers
  • Others who have surgery or significant injuries that require tissue or bone to heal.

Trusted system for potential donor families in the U.S.

The U.S. has a well-organized system of recovery organizations to meet the needs of potential donor families in every hospital in the nation. The Federal Government requires the hospitals to participate in the tissue donation process through the Medicare Hospitals Conditions of Participation. These recovery agencies serve as the vital link between the donor and recipient. Further to this, they are responsible for the identification of donors, the retrieval, preservation and transportation of organs and tissue.

Highest safety standards for recovery techniques

Donated tissue is recovered by applying the safest techniques and sterile equipment to minimize the risk of any bioburden contamination. Recovered tissue is sampled and tested for microbiological contamination. Blood and other samples are obtained for serological testing. Abnormal skin lesions are biopsied to rule out cancers. Comprehensive and standardized testing protocols are used to turn the gift of donation into the safest and most reliable product ready to support the medical needs of the recipient.