For Parents

For Parents

Adult-Oriented Information

As parents, you may have specific questions about the organ and tissue donation process which you prefer to address outside of a family discussion.

Why is My Child Learning About Organ Donation?

90% of Americans say they support donation, but only 30% know the essential steps to take to be a donor. The need for organ and tissue donation and transplantation in America affects people of all ages and backgrounds. Many schools incorporate donor awareness into their school curricula as a current topic of interest. In addition, Texas law requires driver’s education classes to address the topic of organ and tissue donation. This way, drivers have been given an opportunity to consider organ donation before the question is posed to them at the DPS or DMV.

The key to solving the nation’s organ and tissue shortage is to encourage awareness and discussion regarding the issue of organ and tissue donation. By providing youth with accurate facts early, they will be prepared to make an informed decision and have an opportunity to discuss their thoughts with family members.

Through interaction with their children, parents will:

  • Become informed about the decision-making process related to organ and tissue donation
  • Learn how to ensure that family members’ wishes are both known and followed
  • Recognize the importance of having a family discussion related to donation and transplantation

Monitoring Compliance

  • UNOS, United Network of Organ Sharing, ensures that organ allocation policies are followed by all transplant centers and organ procurement organizations in the United States.
  • The OPTN, Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network, operates and monitors the system for allocating organs for transplantation. It is among the most comprehensive health-care oversight programs in the country. Every organ allocation is subject to monitoring.
  • Compliance with organ allocation policies exceeds 95 percent. In the rare number of incidents where potential issues of non-compliance are identified, an even smaller percentage merit action by the committee following a thorough review of the circumstances.
  • Organ and tissue donation is dependent upon the public’s trust that the nation’s transplant system is operated fairly. Organ transplant policy is based on the latest medical and scientific findings and is continually refined to be as equitable as possible. Because patient safety is the primary goal, compliance with transplant policy is carefully monitored and stringently controlled.

An Unbiased Match – The Transplantation Matching System

  • Each patient in the database is matched by the computer against the donor characteristics. The computer then generates a ranked list of candidates for each available organ in order according to organ allocation policies. The database is constantly updating to ensure the results are accurate and up-to-date.
  • Factors affecting ranking may include tissue match, blood type, length of time on the waiting list, immune status, and the distance between the potential recipient and the donor. For heart, liver, lungs, and intestines, the potential recipient’s degree of medical urgency is also considered.
  • When a patient is selected, he or she must be available, healthy enough to undergo major surgery, and willing to be transplanted immediately. Also, a laboratory test to measure compatibility between the donor and recipient may be necessary.
UNOS Transplant System Fact Page

Is there an age requirement to register to be an organ donor?

There is no age requirement to register to be an organ donor. However, until your child is a legal adult, your consent is required. Young people are still encouraged to register because families tend to agree to donation if their loved one took the time to commit their name to the registry. It is important to share how you feel about organ donation with your family.