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Board approves resource regarding informed consent of potential living donors

Published on: Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Los Angeles [September 18, 2007] -- The OPTN/UNOS Board of Directors approved a resource document to describe commonalities of transplant programs' protocols for ensuring informed consent for living organ donation.

"This information can help inform potential donors in a consistent way about the risks and benefits of living donation, and how the living donor consent process generally happens," said Timothy L. Pruett, M.D., president of the OPTN and UNOS and chair of the OPTN/UNOS Board of Directors. "It can also be useful for transplant programs as they assess and revise their individual protocols."

The OPTN/UNOS Living Donor Committee developed the document based on practices commonly identified in a survey of protocols from programs performing living donor transplants. The document addresses elements of educating potential living donors about the donation process, explaining donor risk and benefits, ensuring proper consent, and arranging for followup evaluation after the donation. It will be posted as an informational resource on the OPTN and UNOS web sites and distributed via e-mail to OPTN/UNOS transplant programs.

The Board approved the intent to develop a second resource document regarding medical and psychosocial evaluation of potential living donors and will reconsider the specific content of the recommendations at its next meeting in February 2008, including the opportunity for additional public comment. The Living Donor Committee had circulated a proposed set of recommendations on these issues in July.

"A lot of good work has gone into the development of the evaluation document, and a number of modifications were made to it before the Board meeting to address issues raised by public comment," said Dr. Pruett. "But we believe a higher degree of consensus is needed to ensure it has the right level of detail and best reflects current practice."

The Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) is operated under contract with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, Division of Transplantation by the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS). The OPTN brings together medical professionals, transplant recipients and donor families to develop organ transplantation policy.