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Organ Transplantation

Learn about the federal legal and regulatory framework for organ donation and transplantation.


Imagine a patient had kidney disease and her kidneys were near failure. A transplanted kidney could save the patient’s life. How does the organ-transplantation system work?

In general, state law governs how organs are donated. Federal law governs how donated organs are distributed. Federal law defines an organ as a specific list of solid human organs, such as kidneys, eyes, skin, and bone marrow. However, the definition of organ doesn’t include blood or blood products.

I. Organ Recipient Lists