1) Will the donor family have to pay the cost for the organs to be donated?
There is no charge for the donor family during an organ donation process. All costs are covered by the organ procurement organization (OPO). The OPO will get pay by charging the transplant centers who recover the organs. The family will only have to pay the cost of the funeral.
2) Will it be possible to have an open casket at my funeral?
Yes it is possible. Most of the donor can have open casket funeral.
3) Can the family decide who gets the organs?
Yes and it is called a direct donation. If your family knows someone that needs an organ transplant and is potentially a good match, it can happen. The family will have to inform the organ procurement coordinator at the time of consent and then they see if there is a potential match.
4) If the family does not know anybody waiting for an organ transplant who decides where the organs go?
Nobody, it’s UNOS’s system called DonotNet. DonorNet is a huge database that includes the names and information of every patients waiting for an organ transplant. The ranking is based on blood type, how sick the patient is, location. The computer system will produce a match list based on certain organ criteria. Every organ has different criteria.
5) When will the donor’s heart stop beating?
This happens at the very end of organ donation. Once in the operating room and all the organ recovery teams ready to recover the organs, the surgeon will apply a clamp on the aorta. This is called the cross-clamp time. This is when everybody starts racing against the clock because the timer has started. The heart has to be pumping blood again within 4 hours. Lungs have up to 6 hours to be ready to go. 12 hours is needed for the liver. Kidneys can be put on a special pump and wait up to 48 hours before transplantation.