Donating Tissues and Organs

Tissue donation is when tissues in the body (for example, skin, corneas or bone) are removed from a person who has died and is transplanted into a living person.

Organ donation is when an organ (for example, heart, lung or kidney) is removed from a person who has died and is transplanted into a living person. (Transplant Manitoba has more information about organ donation.)

Tissues do not require the same conditions as organs to survive. The donor doesn’t need to be maintained on a ventilator which means tissue donation is possible after the heart and lungs have stopped working.

Tissue donation can also come from living donors. Pregnant women who plan to have a Caesarean section can donate birth tissue from placentas and umbilical cords.

Giving the gift of tissue donation is a selfless and very personal act. At Tissue Bank Manitoba, we work to facilitate the gift and honour the donor and donor family by recovering the tissue and preparing it for transplant.

Who can donate tissue?

We encourage everyone interested in donating tissue to register online at the SignUpForLife.ca Donor Registry. After evaluating your relevant medical history, the Tissue Bank Manitoba team will work to facilitate the donation at time of death.

Which tissues can be donated and how do they help?

Thousands of Canadians receive tissue transplants each year. Many donor families say they are comforted by honouring their loved one’s wishes to save or improve the quality of the lives of others.

Here are some examples of the tissues that can be donated and how tissue transplants help and heal:

  • corneas to restore vision
  • heart valves to replace an infant’s defective valves
  • skin for severely burned patients
  • bone grafts to save a limb that might otherwise be amputated
  • birth tissue, such as placentas and umbilical cords, to aid in healing wounds

Where does Tissue bank provide service?

Tissue Bank Manitoba’s donation services are coordinated through Shared Health. Tissue donation services sites are located within the Winnipeg, Interlake-Eastern and Southern Health-Santé Sud health regions. We are continually working to expand our services throughout Manitoba to serve all communities equally.

What organizations in Manitoba are responsible for tissue and organ donation?

Shared Health coordinates tissue and organ donation for transplantation, research and education through two clinical services – Tissue Bank Manitoba and Transplant Manitoba.

Misericordia Eye Bank coordinates eye tissue donations for transplantation, research and education.

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