What is organ transplantation?
Organ transplantation involves removing a healthy organ and tissue from a human body and using it to replace an absent or unhealthy organ in another human body. Usually the organ donor is a recently deceased human, but it may also be a living human with a second organ such as a kidney, or organ tissue such as bone marrow (MedlinePlus).
The full list of organs that can be transplanted includes: the kidneys, heart, liver, pancreas, intestines, lungs, skin, bone and bone marrow, and the cornea.
Organ transplants can be made with donors of any age, gender or race. Organ donors in the United States under the age of 18 must have parental permission. It's important if one desires to be an organ donor that they indicate so on their identification or driver's license. Most organ donation occurs immediately after death, and identification is the primary means by which a hospital staff will determine whether one's organs may be harvested. There is a constant shortage of most organs, including waitlists for organs that are slowly degraded by disease and require eventual donation or replacement.
The costs of organ transplantation by both the donor and recipient are eligible for reimbursement with consumer-directed healthcare accounts. Organ transplantation never costs anything to the donor, but the recipient of an organ may be responsible for the donor's expenses in certain situations. All expenses related to organ transplantation are eligible for reimbursement.
There is no cutoff age for transplanting organs, and doctors will assess organ health at an individual's time of death when determining whether the organs can be harvested for donation purposes.