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Organ and Tissue Donation

You can consent to be an organ or tissue donor if you are aged 16 or over and fully understand the nature and consequences of your donation. You can change your mind at any time. 
 


Why should I consent to be an organ and tissue donor?

Many lives could be saved if you consent to donate your organs (heart, liver, pancreas, small bowel, kidneys, and lungs) after your death. You may also give one of your kidneys or a portion of your liver or lung, while you are living.

Donating tissues such as skin, bone, tendons, corneas, and heart valves can enhance the life of someone who has been burned, or who has vision or mobility problems.


How do I consent to be an organ or tissue donor?
In October 2015, Health PEI will survey most Islanders to determine their intentions to donate their organs and tissues.  The information will be used as part of a secure provincial Organ and Tissue Donor Registry, similar to registries found in other Canadian jurisdictions.  The registry will be accessible by the appropriate persons, shoudl the opportunity to donate arise.

If you do not receive a survey in the mail, a printable verion is available in English and in French.


As always, Islanders are encouraged to discuss their decision to become an organ and tissue donor with their familes.

While we are collecting information for the registry, you can still indicate your wish to become an organ and tissue donor in the following ways: 

  1. When you apply for, or renew your driver’s licence.
  2. When you apply for, or renew your PEI Health Card by placing the red sticker provided on the back of your card.
  3. Complete a Health Care Directive [PDF | 185 KB] (living will) to indicate your consent.

Inform members of your family that you choose to be an organ and tissue donor and update them if you change your mind. Your next of kin will be involved in the donor screening process after your death, so it is helpful if they are aware of your wishes.


What happens when I die and I have indicated that I want to be an organ donor?
To become an organ donor, you must die in hospital while on life support, and have an irreversible brain injury. If you meet these criteria, you will be referred to the organ donor cordinator in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The coordinator will review your medical history and current health to determine if you could be an organ donor. Your family will be offered the option to donate organs. If your family supports the option to donate, an organ donor coordinator will talk to them about the donation process, get consent, and ask questions about your social history and medical history.

If donation is still a possibility, your body will be transferred to Halifax where brain death will be confirmed and tests will be done to make sure you can be a donor. Your organs will be matched with recipients through a national transplant waiting list using a standardized process. Your family members can travel to Halifax if they wish, or remain on PEI. Once recipients are found, your body will be taken to the operating room. The organs are recovered and taken to the recipient centers to be transplanted. If you can donate tissue, the tissue recovery is done after the organ recovery. After the procedure, your body is transported to your chosen funeral home at no extra cost to your family.

 
What happens when I die and I have indicated that I want to be a tissue donor?
If you die in a PEI hospital, you will be assessed for your potential to be a tissue donor. If it is possible for you to be a tissue donor, Health PEI staff will call the Regional Tissue Bank in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The specialist from the Tissue Bank will review your medical history and current health to determine if you can be a tissue donor. Your family will be offered the option to donate tissues. If your family supports the option to donate, a tissue bank dpecialist will talk to them about the donation process, get consent, and ask questions about your social and medical history.

If donation is still a possibility, your body will be transferred to Halifax where the tissue retrieval will take place. Your body is transported to your chosen funeral home at no extra cost to your family. 


Will being an organ or tissue donor delay my funeral? Will it prevent an open casket funeral?
The surgery to remove organs and tissues is done with the same care as any other surgery. The person’s body is treated with respect and dignity. All areas affected by organ or tissue removal are reconstructed. This is very important with eye donation. In these cases, the eye area is reconstructed so you can’t tell that surgery was done. Usually, you can expect the body to be released to the funeral home 24-48 hours after the person has died.

Most of the time, there is no way to tell that the person was an organ or tissue donor, and you can have an open casket funeral. All donations are confidential; however, if you would like others to know that your loved one was a donor, you may want to include this information in the obituary, the funeral program, or the eulogy. For more information, please contact the Provincial Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation Manager at (902) 368-5920.


How can I become a living organ donor?
Healthy adults can become living donors after extensive medical testing determines it is safe for them. If you want to donate a kidney, a portion of your liver, or a portion of your lung to a loved one, you should contact your physician to find out how you can become a donor.

You will have a medical examination to determine if it is safe for you to donate, and if you are a match for your loved one. Donors and recipients who are well matched have a better chance of a successful transplant.

If your loved one needs a kidney transplant and you are not a match to them, you could still donate your kidney and help them receive a much needed transplant from someone else. Willing, living donors without a specific intended recipient, may also register in the Kidney Paired Donation Program. If you are a potential donor or recipient interested in the Living Kidney Donor program, please contact the Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Center in Halifax, Nova Scotia toll-free at 1-888-362-8555 or (902) 473-5501.


Is there any support for my expenses if I become a living donor?
You will be reimbursed up to $5,500 maximum for out-of-pocket travel and living expenses if you choose to be a living donor for a PEI resident, or if you choose to enter the Kidney Paired Donation Program

  • Travel – up to $1,500 maximum per donor for travel by plane, train, car, taxi, subway, or bus. (Car mileage is reimbursed based on the current government rate per kilometer)
  • Accommodation – total $875 maximum per donor – maximum $125 per night for dates corresponding with donation procedures.
  • Meals – total maximum $280 per donor – maximum $40 per day.
  • Parking – total maximum $101.50 per donor – maximum $14.50 per day.
  • Income Loss – total maximum $3,200- the lesser of $400 per week (pro-rated daily) or 55 per cent net weekly earnings (up to eight weeks). Donors who are unemployed or receiving long-term disability, Government assistance, or Canada pension, are not eligible for income assistance. Loss-of-income reimbursement requires the following documentation:

    • Proof of income;
    • Physician documentation of time required away from work; and
    • A statement confirming another source of income is unavailable.


How do I apply for reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses?
  • Submit all receipts and official documentation with your claim for reimbursement within 90 days after the transplant procedure to the Provincial Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation Manager.

    • Your health card number and address;
    • Organ/tissue recipient’s health card number and address;
    • Date and confirmation of donation procedure;
    • Dates for travel and/or accommodation;
    • Accommodation address;
    • Original travel receipts such as boarding passes, distance travelled for mileage, and parking receipts;
    • Total amount paid including taxes (HST, GST, PST); and
    • Any other specified documentation.


What is the Kidney Paired Donation Program?
The Kidney Paired Donation Program improves the hope of finding a compatible match for organ transplantation. Canadian Blood Services manages this program which allows for donor-recipient pairs who are not a match to each other, or a single non-directed anonymous donor, to enter a registry to increase the chances of finding a match for a kidney transplant.


What other resources are available?


Who do I contact about organ and tissue donation?
Provincial Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation Manager
16 Garfield Street
Charlottetown, PE   CIA 7N8
Telephone: (902) 368-5920

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