In Québec, a person may decide to donate their organs and tissues after they die. Organ and tissue donation can save up to eight lives and restore health to another 20 people.
Organ and tissue donation is anonymous, voluntary and free.
Organ donation is only possible when a person dies in hospital under specific circumstances. Only 1.4% of people who die in hospital can become an organ donor, which is the equivalent of 450 to 500 people per year across Québec if all the requirements are met every time.
The main organs that can be retrieved from a donor for transplantation are:
- Liver (can be divided in two)
Every deceased donor gives eight people awaiting a transplant a chance to receive a new organ.
Organs are allocated in accordance with strict protocols that take various factors into account:
- The donor’s and the potential recipient’s blood group
- Antigen compatibility between the donor and the potential recipient
- The donor’s and the potential recipient’s weight and height
- The medical urgency status of the person awaiting an organ
- The date the recipient was registered on the transplant waiting list
In recent years, 180 donors have made over 500 transplants possible on average every year. The survival rate of transplant recipients varies depending on the type of organ, but is generally between 70 and 90% 10 years after surgery.
The names of all the people who are waiting for an organ transplant in Québec are put on a single list that is managed by Transplant Québec. Transplant Québec is responsible for coordinating the organ donation process.
A person can also donate a kidney or part of their liver while they are alive. To find out more, go to the Living Organ Donation page on Transplant Québec’s website.
Tissue donation is possible even if the person does not die in hospital. Human tissue, unlike organs, can be retrieved up to several hours after blood flow has stopped.
The main tissues that can be removed from a donor for transplantation are:
- Heart valves
- Eye tissues (including the cornea)
A single donor can provide tissue for 20 people.
Every year, tissue donation helps improve the health of thousands of people. Various situations or health problems may mean that many people need a tissue transplant.
Héma-Québec is responsible for the retrieval, preparation, storage and distribution of human tissue. The organization also manages a tissue bank for Québec.