Multiple forms of organ donation

There are multiple forms of organ donation:

  • Organs and tissues can be donated for transplantation purposes via the Donor Register.
  • Via the Heart Tissue Bank one can donate the heart for scientific research.
  • Via the Dutch Brain Bank one can donate the brains for scientific research (heart and brain donation for scientific research are performed at the same institute and therefore can be performed at the same time).
  • The whole body can also be made available to science. Then your body goes to the anatomy department of a university medical center, where it is mainly used for the training of medical students or the further training of doctors. With this form of donation, the body will not be returned to the relatives.

The different forms of donation are arranged by different institutions. For example, you are not automatically a donor to the Heart Tissue Bank if you have registered as an organ donor via the Donor Register. However, both forms of registration can be combined. In that case, after death, the attending physician will assess whether the organs (including the heart) are suitable for transplantation. If this is not the case, the heart donation for the Heart Tissue bank can take place. Please note that if the heart can save a life this ALWAYS has priority.

It is also possible to combine registration with the Heart Tissue Bank with the Brain Bank and/or with ‘making the body available to science’. In the figure below, the possible combinations of tissue donation are listed for you.