Frequently Asked Questions
Registering as an organ, eye and tissue donor is an incredible gift! It means that you are agreeing to donate your organs, eyes and tissues to people in need when your life is over. Learn the facts about registering as an organ, tissue and eye donor. We understand you may have questions. If we haven’t answered your questions here, please contact us.
Will donation affect the appearance of the donor?
Great care is taken to preserve the donor’s appearance through the delicate surgical procedures that occur during organ and tissue recovery. Incisions and areas of tissue donation can be covered by clothing. An open-casket funeral can occur following donation. The recovering agency will make certain the body is released to the funeral home on time. No extra planning is required by families of organ and tissue donors. Through the entire donation process the body is treated with care, respect and dignity.
Does my religion allow donation?
All major religions in the United States support organ, eye and tissue donation and consider it a final act of love and generosity toward others.
How long can organs and tissues survive before being transplanted?
Thanks to advances in medical technology and improved preservation techniques, organs, tissues and corneas may be transported to reach recipients waiting in transplant centers. Approximate preservation times are:
- Heart/lung: 4 to 6 hours
- Pancreas: 12 to 24 hours
- Liver: 6 to 8 hours
- Kidneys: 24 to 72 hours
- Corneas: Must be transplanted within 5 to 7 days
- Heart valves, skin, bone, tendons, veins: May be preserved from 3 to 5 years
Can organs and tissues be donated to someone of a different race or ethnicity?
Yes. Organ size is critical to matching the donor and recipient for hearts, livers and lungs. But genetic makeup is also important when matching kidneys; therefore, African-Americans will “match” better with a kidney donated from an African-American than any other race—as will Asians with Asians, etc. For an allograft (human to human tissue) transplant, you do not need to have a “match” in order to receive a tissue transplant. For cornea transplantation, the best match is based on size and age of the cornea.
Why is it important for me to talk about donation with my family?
Many people don’t like to discuss end-of-life situations; however, talking about donation is different than talking about death. When you share your donation decision with your family, you are talking about the opportunity to help others and to make sure that your family understands and follows through with your choice.
What is the Wisconsin Donor Registry
When you add your name to the Wisconsin Donor Registry, it means you have authorized the gift of your organs, tissues, and eyes upon your death. Registering indicates legal consent for donation. Your gift will be used to save and improve the lives of others through transplantation, therapy, research or education.
Please see this FAQ regarding the Wisconsin Donor Registry.
What is the DLW grants program?
DLW is authorized to provide funds to organizations to promote the donation of organs and tissue, to promote organ and tissue transplant research, and to advance patient services involving organ and tissue transplants in Wisconsin.
Who can apply for an impact grant?
Organizations that are eligible to apply or serve as the lead organization for a DLW grant-funded project must be recognized as exempt for federal taxation under Section 501 (c)3 of the IRS Code, be able to provide proof of charitable status in Wisconsin (if applicable) and be able to submit an externally audited financial statement at the conclusion of the grant.
May organizations collaborate on a proposed project?
Organizations proposing to collaborate on a project must include at least one organization that meets all eligibility criteria. This organization will be considered the primary (lead organization . The lead organization will sign the Grant Agreement, serve as the fiscal agent and assume responsibility to meet all reporting requirements.
Can an organization that provides services in states other than Wisconsin be eligible?
If an organization performs its programs in states in addition to Wisconsin, the Grantee must limit any funding that it receives from DLW to its Wisconsin activities.
Can an individual apply for a DLW grant to encourage organ and tissue donation?
Individuals are not eligible to receive grants.
What are permitted use of funds?
Permitted use of grant funds is defined in the DLW Grants policy and outlined in the Request for Proposal document. Examples of allowable expenses include consultant, contract or staff time to implement the project; office supplies, postage, copying related to the project; meeting expenses related to the project.
What are examples of expenses not permitted?
Non-allowable use of DLW grant funding:
- Expenses billed to/reimbursed from federal/state agencies or other entities e.g., CMS
- Personal expenses, e.g., cost of living, fines, damages
- Clinical care or other costs associated with treatment or direct care
- Direct or indirect lobbying activities or legal fees
- Financial gifts, e.g., scholarships, endowments, aid, gift cards
- Entertainment or alcoholic beverages
- Costs or activities not directly related to the project implementation
What components must be In the letter of intent (LOI)?
Organizations must complete a separate Letter of Intent (LOI) for each project. The components of the LOI include:
- Organization information
- Project contact
- Project name
- Type and focus of the project
- Need project will address
- Data substantiating the need
- Project overview with anticipated outcomes
- Impact Statement (Answer one or both questions):
- How will this project increase the number of individuals who register to become organ, eye and tissue donors?
- How will this project increase the number of donated organs/tissues available for transplantation?
- Funding amount requested ($10,000-$50,000)
How can an organization apply for a DLW grant?
Eligible organizations complete and submit a Letter of Intent (LOI) by the deadline. Organizations may be invited to submit a full proposal after review.
What are the largest and smallest amounts that an organization may request?
Each year, the Donate Life Wisconsin Board of Directors establishes the budget allocation for the Grants program.
What are the reporting requirements?
The Grantee will submit monthly updates, a project mid-point report and a final report. Grantees are required to keep a record of all receipts and expenditures relating to the grant. These reports will describe progress, outcomes, learnings. Additionally, Grantees must submit an audited financial statement detailing the use of the grant funds. Statements should be prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles.
What is the timeline?
The Innovations & Impact Grant program timeline:
- May 1 LOI submission process opens
- May 9 Grants Information session (Virtual)
- June 2 LOI submission process closes
- June 19 Notification to LOI applicants regarding project status
- July 28 Deadline to submit full project proposals
- August 21 Notifications to Project Finalists
- October 4 Project presentations to DLW Board of Directors
- November 1 2024 Projects announced
What organs can a living donor donate?
The kidney is the most commonly transplanted organ from a living donor. One entire kidney is removed and transplanted. Living liver donation, where a segment of the donor’s liver is transplanted, occurs less often, and the donor is usually related to the recipient. A few living donor uterus transplants have been performed as part of clinical trails. Also, in rare cases, a segment of organs such as lung, intestine or pancreas can be transplanted from a living donor.
Why is a kidney transplant from a living donor better than one from a deceased donor?
Data shows that a living donor kidney not only functions better, but it lasts longer and has a reduced risk of rejection.
Do you have advice for making the decision to donate?
The decision to donate can vary from person to person. Some people make the decision instantly with few worries or concerns. Other people need time to think and will talk with close friends or family before deciding if they will donate. It is normal for some people to be afraid of donating a kidney as well as to feel guilt about not wanting to be a donor.
People should not feel pressured to donate. The only “right” decision is the one that is comfortable for the donor. People considering donation are encouraged to speak with the living donor team for answers to their questions or to discuss their concerns.
Who can be a kidney donor?
Living kidney donors are healthy individuals over the age of 18.