, Volume 10, Issue 3, pp 235-240
Date: 19 Nov 2008

Informed consent to tissue donation: policies and practice

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Nearly 10 years ago, the tissue industry’s informed consent practices with donor families in the United States were criticized. In response, the industry, along with the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services, suggested elements to be included in the informed consent process. This study examines which of these elements were present in the informed consent documents of 45 (78%) of the nation’s 58 Organ Procurement Organizations (OPOs). Some elements, such as involvement of for-profit companies, were present in almost all. Others, such as labeling tissue as a gift from donor families, never were. The authors conclude that the time is ripe for reexamination of the informed consent process with an eye to meaningful consent that promotes the benefits of tissue transplantation and at the same time protects the rights and interests of donor families; can be realistically implemented; and, maintains the trust of the American public.