Behind the Organ and Tissue Donation Process

In the organ and tissue donation process, every step matters from donor registration to transplant surgery. Our important work takes place in the community, hospitals, and our state-of-the-art organ and tissue recovery facility. At MTS, we’re innovating every step of the way.

Registering Donors to Save Lives

When we approach a family for donation, we are far more likely to get consent if their loved one joined the organ and tissue donor registry while living. That’s why donor registration is such an important part of what we do at MTS.

Maximizing Lifesaving Transactions

Less than half of Missouri DMV customers say “yes” when asked to join the state donor registry. We’ve taken ownership of three St. Louis DMVs to better educate our community about organ and tissue donation — and it’s working. At MTS DMVs, our registration rates are significantly higher than the state average.

Educating Our Community

Employees at MTS DMVs are trained to educate every customer about becoming a donor, and are prepared to answer questions and dispel common myths about organ and tissue donation. Our work also extends beyond the DMV setting, including school programs and participation in community events.

Honoring Donors and Donor Families

Honoring Donors and Donor Families

Lifesaving transplants would not be possible without the generosity of the donor and donor family. We offer donor families support through our Grief Companion Program, Donor Family Facebook Group, memorial ceremonies, and other services.

Innovating the Referral Process

Innovating the Referral Process

Medical Examiners (MEs) are not required to refer deaths to organ procurement organizations, which means that in the past, many donor opportunities went unreported. MTS created a streamlined donor referral system that makes MEs significantly more likely to report potential donors.

Providing Reliable Lab Services

Providing Reliable Lab Services

A number of tests have to be done to determine whether or not a donor’s organs and tissues can be used. Our onsite lab gives us control over the quality and timing of these tests, which helps our transplant partners make more informed decisions about the suitability of organs and tissue for transplant.

Testing Donors for Infectious Disease

Testing Donors for Infectious Disease

We perform serology tests to screen donors for infectious diseases including syphilis, Hepatitis, and HIV. MTS also uses nucleic acid testing (NAT) to test for infections that have not yet shown an immunological response. Bringing NAT in house in 2014 has allowed MTS to provide the highest quality results in a timely fashion.

Matching Donations with Recipients

Matching Donations with Recipients

HLA testing is used to match the donor with a potential recipient. MTS uses a state-of-the-art real-time PCR analyzer to speed up HLA testing and start the transplant allocation process sooner.

Managing Organ Donors with Expertise

Managing Organ Donors with Expertise

During the organ recovery phase, MTS staff, from organ procurement coordinators to the Chief Medical Officer, make important decisions on how to manage each donor to maximize the quality and quantity of lifesaving transplant opportunities. An important part of our recovery process is to actually improve the condition of organ donations by applying the principles of critical care medicine.

The Gift of Tissue Donation

DeAnna, skin recipient

The Gift of Tissue Donation

Tissue donation is an important part of what we do at MTS. Our highly skilled recovery staff is trained to surgically remove donor tissues, including bones, skin, heart valves, saphenous veins, and corneas. Donated tissues can dramatically improve the quality of life for recipients, and even save lives.

Providing Corneas and Sclera for Transplant

Providing Corneas and Sclera for Transplant

For over 20 years, the MTS Eye Bank has provided a wide range of transplantable corneas and sclera for local, domestic, and international recipients. We also provide physicians, ophthalmic surgeons, and other eye banks with a complete range of evaluation and screening, processing, storage, and distribution services.

Providing a Home Away from Home

Providing a Home Away from Home

The MTS Family House offers comfortable, safe, and affordable housing for patients and their families who must relocate to St. Louis for pre- and post-transplant care.

Making Life on the Waiting List Easier

Making Life on the Waiting List Easier

MTS' charitable foundation supports transplant patients before and after surgery. We work to make their lives easier by helping with housing assistance, medical services, and other financial needs.