Who can be a tissue donor?
Types of donation
How can I donate?
Why should I donate?
Tissue donors can be persons legally certified dead, or living donors whose tissues are to be removed during a surgical operation and would otherwise be ‘discarded'.
Tissue safety starts with a careful assessment of donor suitability. The eligibility criteria are very selective and consider the medical and social story of the potential donor, his/her clinical and physical condition and the results of blood tests carried out on the live patient or at autopsy.
Donors can be broken down into 3 classes:
- Heartbeating (HB) cadaver donors, i.e. donors whose death has been neurologically ascertained (brain dead);
- Non-heart-beating (NHB) cadavers: donors in cardiac arrest, i.e., whose heart has stopped beating;
- Living donors, i.e. persons consenting to the donation of their tissues during surgery.
Donation is regulated by Italian law no. 91/99, which lays down the principles of explicit consent or dissent to donation. As a result, anyone may validly declare his/her wish to donate organs or tissues choosing one of the following ways:
- obtaining a Ministry for Health blue card, as of May 2000;
- registering your wishes with the appropriate desk at your Local Healthcare Unit or Local Authorities;
- making a signed declaration indicating your intention to donate your tissues on a simple sheet of white paper, giving your name, surname, date and place of birth, date of the document and signature;
- obtaining an A.I.D.O (Italian Organ Donation Association) card or making a hand written declaration;
- filling out and signing a special form available at the citizens' registration office of some municipalities when applying for or renewing your identity card.
Expressing your wish to become a donor is easy.
Becoming a donor means living your life with an awareness of others and with a sense of the future.
Being able to donate tissues to a person in need is a great opportunity.
Those receiving tissues will benefit extensively. The life-enhancing advantages provided by donor tissues include:
- absence of reject. Tissues preserved at low temperatures have very little immunogenicity, we may all become tissue recipients;
- resistance to infections;
- excellent haemodynamic properties;
- excellent osteoinductive, conductive and mechanical resistance properties;
- absence of clot formation (thrombus formation);
- tissue regeneration, with the growth of the recipient's own cells;
- long-term preservation that maintains donated tissue properties intact;
- high safety levels.