Position Statement on Tissue Donation

The National Donor Family Council (NDFC) of the National Kidney Foundation recognizes and supports tissue donation as an end-of-life option for families; and recognizes its life-enhancing capacity to help thousands who are awaiting tissue transplantation.

The NDFC strives to enhance the sensitivity and effectiveness of the organ and tissue procurement process. To further this mission, the NDFC believes that tissue donation should always be treated as a gift of life. We believe that the tissue community as a whole must promote sensitivity to and support for organ and tissue donor families.

Financial Considerations

While the NDFC recognizes that financial resources are an important factor in maintaining the highest quality of tissue services, it is our position that tissues must be collected, processed, stored and distributed in an efficient manner that minimizes costs and maximizes the benefit to patients. The NDFC believes that donated tissue must be used in a way that promotes healing for people with the greatest need.

Suggestions for Healthcare Professionals

The tissue community should:

  • Resist the tendency to make the generous gift of donated tissue a commodity
  • Refrain from referring to donated tissue as a "product." All packaging for donated tissue should include a statement indicating that the package contains donated tissue and is a gift of life
  • Educate health care professionals, including physicians who use donated tissue, about the donor family perspective and the nature of the gift
  • Work to raise awareness among funeral services professionals and strengthen their commitment to follow the wishes of donor families
  • Pay all expenses incurred by the donor family that are directly associated with tissue donation, including any increased funeral charges

As approved by the NKF National Donor Family Council Executive Committee and the NKF Board of Directors, September 25, 2000.

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