Answers to frequently asked questions about tissue donation

How is tissue removed?

Firstly, the donor’s body is treated with care and respect by the team of professionals specializing in tissue removal. The process is carried out in facilities specially designed for that purpose at Héma-Québec or a hospital operating room, pursuant to stringent procedures that comply with Health Canada standards and those of various recognized regulatory agencies.

When does the tissue donation process begin?

The donor eligibility process begins as soon as the family has given its consent to have the tissue removed. The tissue must be removed as soon as possible after death, in order to ensure the quality of the donated tissue.

Are screening tests performed during tissue donation?

Blood is collected in order to determine the donor’s serologic profile (e.g. blood type, Rhesus factor, HIV, hepatitis, etc.).

What is the age limit to be a tissue donor?

The age criterion may vary depending on tissue type:

  • Heart for valves: birth to 60 years
  • Skin, bone and tendon tissue: 15 to 70 years
  • Eyes: 2 to 85 years

What about confidentiality?

It is important to specify that the results of the analyses, much like any information obtained for donation purposes, remain confidential. Therefore, all information related to the evaluation and serological results are kept strictly confidential and are only used to determine the admissibility of a potential donor.

What happens to the tissues after they are removed?

The tissues are processed and conserved (freezing or cryoconservation, based on the type of tissue) until it is grafted. Bacteriological tests are performed done on the donated tissues, in order to ensure an optimum quality graft for the eventual recipient.

How many people can receive a graft from a single tissue donation?

One cardiac tissue donor can help at least two people. A bone tissue donor can help up to 40 recipients.