Identity Release and Direct Contact
All correspondence between donor families and recipients is anonymous until/unless both parties decide that they would like to share contact information. In most cases, it is best to establish a relationship through written correspondence before taking the step of identity release and direct communication.
Things to Consider
In our experience, the vast majority of direct contact between donor families and recipients is positive and fulfilling. Though potential problems are rare, we want to ensure that everyone involved has considered the possible benefits and concerns. Please review these considerations before signing your release form, and reach out to us if you would like to discuss anything in greater detail.
- Sharing contact information can simplify the process of communication between donor families and recipients.
- There is an opportunity to learn more about the other party in a personal and direct way, which may or may not include meeting in person.
- Donor families and recipients may find that differences in background, values, and beliefs can present a challenge.
- Donor families and recipients often have ideas about one another prior to meeting in person. Sometimes these ideas are not the reality, and this can lead to disappointment and hurt feelings.
- Making the decision to share contact information and communicate directly is a personal choice. The donor family or recipient may change their mind at any time and decide that they are not ready to continue to communicate directly or meet in person.
If you have sent a letter to a recipient, and would like to initiate the process for direct contact, please review the considerations above and sign the Identity Release form. Please only list the contact information you are comfortable sharing with the recipient. You may send your signed form to us by
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Mail: Donor Alliance, Attn: Aftercare, 200 Spruce St., Suite 200, Denver, CO 80230
- Upload along with a letter for the recipient(s) via our website here.
We will then send a corresponding release form to the recipient(s). Keep in mind that the recipient is under no obligation to sign the release, but if they sign it and return it to us, we will then exchange your contact information so that you may communicate directly.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: I’ve submitted my signed Identity Release form – now what?
A: Once we receive your signed release form, we will send a corresponding form to the recipient via their transplant center. If the recipient shares an interest in communicating directly, they will return their signed release form to us. Contact information will be exchanged between donor families and recipients only after we have both parties’ signed release forms in our office.
Q: When will I receive the recipient’s contact information?
A: Provided the recipient shares an interest in communicating directly, it may take several weeks or longer to receive the recipient’s signed form. Donor Alliance does not have access to a recipient’s confidential contact information, so all communication goes through their transplant center. As soon as we receive a recipient’s signed form in our office, we will be in touch to exchange contact information.
Q: I have not heard from a recipient yet – can I still start the process for direct contact?
A: If your loved one donated organs, you may begin the process for direct contact by sending a letter to the recipient(s) and signing an Identity Release form. Please keep in mind that the recipient(s) may not be ready to take this step. If you are struggling with what to include in your letter, we have suggestions for what to write. If your loved one donated tissues, the tissue recipient must send a letter before direct contact can be initiated.
Q: What if the recipient does not want direct contact?
A: Making the decision to have direct contact is a personal choice, and recipients are not obligated to share their contact information. A recipient may not be ready to communicate directly, now or ever. Many families have meaningful relationships with recipients through written correspondence, and you may continue to send and receive letters via Donor Alliance for as long as you and the recipient choose.