The donor - A person who provides blood for transfusion; body tissues or organs for transplantation; or eggs or semen for artificial insemination. The organs that are most frequently donated are kidneys, corneas, heart, lungs, liver, and pancreas. Certain organs can be donated during a person’s lifetime; some are only used following brain death.

All donors should be free of cancer, serious infection (such as hepatitis B), and should not carry HIV. Organs for transplantation must be removed within a few hours of brain death, and before or immediately after the heartbeat has stopped. In some kidney transplants, the kidney is provided by a living donor, usually a relative whose tissues match well on the basis of tissue-typing. Tests are performed to ensure that both kidneys are healthy before one is removed.

Suitable related donors may also provide bone marrow for transplantation and sometimes skin for grafting. (See also blood donation; bone marrow transplant; organ donation; transplant surgery.)


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