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Can I contact a transplant recipient?

It is your decision if you would like to send a message to a transplant recipient.

We will not give anything more than basic information without your agreement. Protecting the anonymity of both the donor and transplant recipient is of the greatest importance.

Our specialist nurses will care for you during the time of donation and when a transplant takes place. They are your family’s contact point for any questions and concerns.

At the time of donation, our nurses will talk to the donor family about whether they would like any communication with the recipient and their family.

When a transplant takes place, our nurses will also talk to the recipient about whether they would like to communicate with the donor family. 

If both parties would like to communicate, our nurses and records staff act as a central contact point between the families.

What information can you tell me about a transplant recipient?

We follow British Transplant Society guidance about the information that can be shared between families.

The donor’s family will only be told the following details about the transplant recipient:

  1. Age range (decade)
  2. Gender
  3. Outcome of the transplant

The transplant recipient will only be told the following details about the donor:

  1. Age range
  2. Gender
  3. Type of death (such as physical injury or stroke)
  4. Whether there is any risk of a donor’s health condition being passed to the recipient.

We do not give information like name, occupation, date of birth or ethnicity. We also do not give details about the place of donation, or any sexual, alcohol or drug history.

Where specific information is required by the recipient (such as smoking history), that information may be given if the information is relevant to the outcome and the donor’s confidentiality is maintained.

Can you tell me whether the donated organs were used?

When a donor’s family agree to donation going ahead, a number of organs and tissue may be used to help others. In 2012, 13-year-old Jemima Layzell died from a brain aneurysm and donated to a record eight people.

If the donor’s family want us to, we will write within 15 days of the donation to give some information about the organ outcome and thank you for your incredible generosity. The letter will include details of whether the organs have been successfully used for transplant, sent for research or found to be unsuitable for transplantation. We may also give a short anonymous description of who the organs were donated to and how they are functioning.

The person who received an organ can also request to contact the organ donor’s family.

Support for donor families

If you are a donor family with questions or you require information following donation, a member of the team is always available to help.

The Donor Family Care Service and your specialist nurse can be contacted via the following details.

Donor Family Care Service

NHS Blood and Transplant
14 Estuary Banks
Speke
Liverpool
L24 8RB
Tel: 0151 268 7063

donor.familycare@nhsbt.nhs.uk

Posting about your experience on social media

Sharing your story on social media can lead to receiving unexpected attention from strangers. If you have any concerns, speak to your transplant coordinator for guidance.

The NHS Organ Donation social channels contain lots of positive and moving stories from a community of donor families, transplant recipients and those waiting for transplants.

Follow us on social media