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Cell Tissue Bank. 2013 Mar;14(1):85-95. doi: 10.1007/s10561-012-9303-7. Epub 2012 Mar 8.

Consenting to donation: an examination of current practices in informed consent for tissue donation in the US.

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  • 1Department of Social and Behavioral Health, Virginia Commonwealth University, 830 E. Main St., PO Box 980149, Richmond, VA 23298, USA.


Informed consent is the primary moral principle guiding the donation of human tissue for transplant purposes. When patients' donation wishes are not known, family members making the decision about tissue donation should be provided with requisite information needed to make informed donation decisions. Using a unique dataset of 1,016 audiotaped requests for tissue obtained from 15 US tissue banking organizations, we examined whether the information provided to families considering tissue donation met current standards for informed consent. The results indicated that many elements of informed consent were missing from the donation discussions, including the timeframe for procurement, autopsy issues, the involvement of both for-profit and nonprofit organizations, and the processing, storage and distribution of donated tissue. A multiple linear regression analysis also revealed that nonwhites and family members of increased age received less information regarding tissue donation than did younger, white decision makers. Recommendations for improving the practice of obtaining consent to tissue donation are provided.

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