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

  • Post category:Medcure
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We have all seen the form at the DMV asking if we wish to state our desire to be an organ donor, but not everyone understands what that entails. These programs, known as Organ Procurement Organizations (OPO), are responsible for life-saving organ and tissue transplants that most are familiar with in medical fields. Non-transplant Anatomical Donation Organizations (NADO), are not involved in the transplant process. However, they provide tissues to be used in scientific research and education. For many people, MedCure is their first exposure to the difference between being an organ donor and donating their body to science.   So what’s the difference? Do you have to choose between one or the other? Why should you donate at all?


  • Transplants offer greater immediate impact, often saving the lives of those in desperate need of new organs or tissues


  • Some transplants can occur while a donor is still living, such as kidneys, blood, or skin tissue. They are often only used for one patient per transplant.


  • Organ donation has stricter requirements for eligibility. These include: BMI restrictions, no illegal drug use, no blood disorders, organ compatibility, etc.


  • After a transplant donation, the donor’s family is responsible for making the final arrangements, typically either burial or cremation.
  • Non-transplants don’t offer impacts on individuals. Instead, they lead to future breakthroughs in disease research, education, and other biological studies that impact many lives.


  • Non-transplant donations are utilized after the donor has passed. Their anatomical gift can be studied several times and make an impact on many different studies.


  • Whole-body donation has some restrictions, but are fewer than organ donation. Most are eligible, with the exception of some communicable disease, intravenous drug use, various location restrictions, etc.


  • Most non-transplant donation programs include cremation as part of the process.


Other Facts To Note:

  • You can be both an organ donor and a whole-body donor! For example, you can donate your cornea to an OPO and still partake in Whole-Body Donation.
  • Even if you aren’t qualified to be an organ donor, you may be able to be a whole body donor
    At MedCure, you can pre-register beforehand online, over the phone, or have a loved one call in after passing to register on your behalf if they have the legal authority to make these decisions.

No matter what kind of donation piques your interest, it is always important to remember: your gift has the potential to save lives and advance research in countless ways. From all of us at MedCure, Thank you