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Types of Deceased Donation

Only about 1% of deaths in BC occur in a way that would enable someone to become an organ donor.
In order to be a deceased organ donor in BC, a person needs to be in an intensive care unit (ICU) and on a ventilator (breathing machine). Donation is only considered after all life-saving methods to save a patient’s life have been tried.

There are three types of donation after death:

Death determination by neurologic criteria (DNC) (also referred to as ''brain death") means the brain has permanently lost all function and a diagnosis of death using neurological criteria has been determined.

For more information on DNC, please see ‘Organ Donation after Brain Death’ (PDF).

Death determination by circulatory criteria (DCC) is an option for organ donation for patients with severe brain injuries once a decision has been made to remove all life-sustaining treatments. When a person's heart permanently stops beating, they have experienced Circulatory Death.

For more information on DCC, please see 'Organ Donation after Circulatory Death' (PDF).

Donation after MAiD can be an option for some patients. This type of donation is in the same category as Donation after Circulatory Death (DCD) and requires the MAiD provision to happen in the hospital. 

For more information on organ donation after MAiD, please visit our Organ Donation after Medical Assistance in Dying page or view our 'Medical Assistance in Dying Followed by Organ Donation' (PDF). 


Who makes this decision – the family or the doctor?

First and foremost the duty of health care providers is to save lives. Donation is only considered after all life-saving efforts have been exhausted and it is certain a patient will not survive. Your donor registration record is confidential, and only accessible by the donation team at BC Transplant. In addition, BC's Human Tissue Gift Act states that the death of a potential organ donor must be declared by two doctors, independent of transplant.

If nothing more can be done for the patient, the ICU physician will contact BC Transplant. Our team will look up if the patient has registered in the Organ Donor Registry. If they have, we will print out their form to show to the family during the organ donation conversation. If the patient has not registered a decision, their loved ones make the decision on their behalf.

Organs from deceased donors are then allocated without prejudice following a comprehensive review and assessment process.

Who can be a deceased organ donor?

To become a deceased organ donor in BC a person must be on life support in a critical care unit, with no hope of recovery. Only 1% of deaths in BC occur in a way that would enable someone to become an organ donor. BC Transplant will only retrieve organs from a donor if there is a suitable match recipient.

There is no age limit to who can be an organ donor, in fact, the oldest organ donation in Canada was 92 years old. 

What happens to a donor's body after surgery?

At all times throughout the donation process, a donor is treated with utmost respect. After the surgical recovery of the organs, the donor's body is released back to to the family.

Learn more about how organ donation works



Please  see our ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ PDF document for some commonly asked questions.

SOURCE: Types of Deceased Donation ( )
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