Why donating tissues and organs?
The donation of tissues and organs is a very personal service to mankind. Everyone can contribute. These donations aim to help people sustainably, by enabling the recipient to improve their life situation or even continue living at all. This direct provision of help to people in great need and to their families, contribute a great share to their recovery.
Anytime, we ourselves, or one of our dearest may find themselves in a situation in need of organs or tissues of others. This is why the issue of tissue or organ donation is a matter of special importance.
What is the need of bone tissue?
Tissue donation is, like organ donation, a substantial contribution to the maintenance and / or to the recovery of health and mobility. Bone tissue is especially needed in the following cases: due to easing of endoprosthesis, accidents or congenitally or gained bone cysts as well as in the case of bone tumors defects of bones may occur which have to be reconstructed or refilled. In these cases bone cement, artificial bones (corals), cattle- or horse bones are the initiated treatments.
Nevertheless, the most effective way for reconstruction is using human bone because its collagen martix is best and fastest inhabited and vitalised by the human body.
How to donate bone tissue, and what happens after the donation?
Routine operations with replacement of the hip joint are the easiest form to donate bone tissue. In these cases the removed femoral head is recovered instead of beeng refused. Of course, a donation requires the agreement of the patient as well as the preclusion of contraindications, an appropriate treatment according to technical regulations and has to takes ethical and moral view points into consideration.
If an extracted femoral head is procured under above specified conditions its collagen matrix can be used for tissue transplantation, provided a proper tretment and cleaning process is performed. The whole procedure is conducted within defined standards (SOP’s) and according to strict QA-criteria (blood sampling, tissue procurement, transport, testing, storage, processing, release). ECTB uses a special cleaning-process leaving the bone without any blood and cellular properties so that it remains immunological neutral. This results in a mechanically stable collagen scaffold which is capable of being vitalized by the body’s own osteoblasts. Despite preclusion of all known infectious diseases and contraindications as well as validated virus inactivation by the procedure, the bone is finally sterilized by gamma irradiation to guarantee ultimate safety for the patient.
Due to the fact that in the case of a hip operation it is only possible to procure a little quantity of material with constraint quality, size and applicability, the procurement of bone tissue from deceased persons complements decisively the donation of hip bone. Conditions for a donation of the deceased donator also implicate the preclusion of contraindications, the consideration of ethical and moral view points as well as technical regulations, but most importantly, that the donator was not explicitly disapproving of tissue donation in his/her lifetime.
Austrian jurisdiction allows the procurement of lifesaving organs or tissues under above specified conditions to meed the demand for livesaving organs as well as tissues. The majority of European states corresponds with this code of objection, which also aims to prevent illegal organ trafficking from developing countries.
What about the anonymity of donators?
The anonymity of donators as well as their traceability are statutory and in any case a necessity in the event of tissue and organ donations, guided by standards and quality control. Every donation receives a code which can only be connected to the donator through data privacy protected records of the Tissue Establishment. Tissues and all related samples are solely labelled with this individual and anonymous donation code. Thus anonymity and traceability are guaranteed.
Worldwide millions of people are waiting for organ transplantations and many of them pass away before receiving this lifesaving treatment. This is why Austria aims to encourage a positive public attitude towards organ and tissues donation. Austria as well as many fellow European states hasve therefore come to the conclusion to give people the opportunity to militate against organ and / or tissue donation during their life time. People who do not object to tissue or organ donation during their life time may be taken into account as donators, in correspondence with all legal regulations taking ethical and moral standards into consideration.
If possible, as a general rule in Austria, relatives are informed in the case of organ or tissue procurement from one of their loved ones. If relatives object, the donation is usually abandoned.
In some EU countries (e.g. Germany and The Netherlands) people can register as organ and tissue donators (endorsement). This results in less donations compared to countries like Austria or Spain.
This restrictive regulation also leads to increased illegal organ trafficking: people from western countries travel to developing countries where they buy organs and tissues. This fact shows the necessity to resume the discussion, as well as to increase information for the public discussion.
The following facilites organise organ donation and transplantation in Austria: