Changing Lives Through Organ Donation
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Appropriate Donation Terminology

To show respect and sensitivity to those who give the Gift of Life and their loved ones, we request that these appropriate terms be used when referring to organ, eye and tissue donation.

Heart by Hand - Shirley

Finger Lakes Donor Recovery Network ascribes to the view that language – how specific words are used  – can be very powerful.

The appropriate and inappropriate comparisons were agreed upon in May 2005. That is when the Donor Family Council of the Association of Organ Procurement Organizations (AOPO) approved the use of new terminology about donation.

The council reasoned that avoiding words and phrases that cause concern among donor families and the general public will increase both understanding and acceptance of the donation process.


Appropriate Terms and Inappropriate Terms

“recover” organs not “harvest” organs

“recovery” of organs not “harvesting” of organs

“donation” of organs not “harvesting” of organs

“determine brain death” not  “declare brain death”

“death” not “legal death”

“mechanical” support not “life” support

“ventilator” support not “life” support

“donated organs and tissues” not “body parts”

“deceased” donation not “cadaveric” donation or “cadaver” donation

“deceased donor” not “cadaver” (when used in a donation context)

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  • © Finger Lakes Donor Recovery Network, Corporate Woods of Brighton, Building 30, Suite 220, Rochester, NY 14623 (800) 810-5494