When it comes to rule outs for organ transplants, it’s important to get the facts, especially when discussing coronavirus and other diseases.
Active coronavirus continues to be a rule out for both organ donors and recipients. However, once recovered, donation and transplantation are both possible, as is the case with many other viral illnesses.
Exposure Does Not Prevent Future Donation: Recovered Coronavirus Patients May Be Eligible to be Organ Donors
A person who is through the acute phase of the disease may be eligible for organ donation now and in the future. Just as with other viral diseases, like the flu or Epstein Barr, historical exposure is not a rule out for donation.
Anyone, regardless of age, lifestyle or medical condition, can sign up to be a donor. Patients with chronic conditions such as diabetes, hepatitis and cancer can also potentially save and heal lives through donation. Eligibility for organ, eye and tissue donation is medically evaluated at the time of death. Even donors who are HIV+ may now be eligible to be organ donors through the Hope Act.
Please do not rule yourself out. If you support organ, eye and tissue donation, we encourage you to sign up to be donor now and let the medical professionals determine eligibility at that time.
Only Active COVID-19 is Currently a Medical Rule-out
With no existing treatment or cure, acute or active COVID-19 is currently a medical rule out for both organ and tissue donation. However, as with many other illnesses, medical science is likely to change that over time and even active coronavirus is not expected to be a rule out for donation in coming years, much like the flu.
The decision to utilize donor organs ultimately rests with transplant surgeons who manage complex decisions around patient care.
Living Organ Donation
The information on this page pertains to deceased organ donation. Living donation is facilitated directly through the transplant centers. Please contact one of the four transplant centers in our area for more information.
COVID-19 Information and Resources
- United Network for Organ Sharing information regarding COVID-19
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
- The American Society of Transplantation: COVID-19 information for transplant recipients, candidates and professionals
- The Association of Organ Procurement Organizations (AOPO): COVID-19 Bulletin
- Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN): Information for transplant programs and OPOs regarding 2019 Novel Coronavirus
- American Association of Tissue Banks: COVID-19 Updates
- State of Colorado Information on the Outbreak of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
- Wyoming COVID-19 Info & Updates
- Wyoming Department of Health