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What is tissue donation?

UH Bristol is a Tissue Donation Alliance Site. This means that every adult death is referred to NHS Blood and Transplant so that the possibility of tissue donation can be explored.  

If you pass away at one of our hospitals, your next of kin will receive a leaflet explaining that a specialist nurse from NHS Blood and Transplant may contact them. If donation is a possibility the nurse will be in touch within a few hours of your death. If your family consent to you becoming a donor the retrieval of tissues will be carried out. 

It is important to talk to your family so that they are aware of your wishes. 

What tissue can you donate?

  • Eyes (cornea and sclera)
  • Heart valves
  • Meniscus (knee cartilage)
  • Tendons
  • Bone (inc full joints)
  • Skin
  • Femoral arteries
  • Trachea

How long after death can tissue be donated?

Tissue is normally donated within 24 hours after a patient has died. However, sometimes it is possible to donate up to 48 hours after death. 

Can you tell if a patient has been a tissue donor? 

Throughout the donation the donor is treated with respect and dignity. After donation our specialist teams will ensure the donor maintains a natural appearance. You may see your relative after they have donated before they are laid to rest, if you wish. 

Will tissue donation interfere with funeral arrangements? 

Donation will not delay any funeral arrangements. 

After donation can you receive any information? 

Yes, with permission. An NHS Blood and Transplant nurse will write a thank you letter and provide information about the donation. 

More information can be found here.  


Source: NHS Blood and Transplant.