An allograft is a tissue or tissues transplanted from one person to another. Allografts are used in a variety of medical treatments such as knee replacement, bone grafts, spinal fusions, eye surgery and skin grafts for the severely burned.

Allografts come from voluntarily donated human tissue and donors can be living or deceased. A deceased donor has documented his or her choice to be a donor through registries like Donate Life America or the family has made the decision following death. Organ and tissue donation represents a gift from the donor and the donor family.

The possibility of disease and/or infection transmission from allograft transplantation is extremely low, estimated to be less than one in 1.6 million. AlloSource makes every effort to eliminate this risk and has not had a substantiated incidence of disease transmission.

Prior to processing, all potential tissue donors undergo a comprehensive screening that includes a physical assessment, medical history and social risk review. Tissue is then recovered and tests are performed on blood and tissue samples to screen for disease and bacterial infection. Testing required by the FDA and AATB includes screens for HIV, Hepatitis B and C, and syphilis.

There are presently three regulatory organizations that oversee tissue banking: the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the American Association of Tissue Banks (AATB) and the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA).

Donation usually remains anonymous. In some cases recipients and donor families may wish to contact each other. Efforts to unite a donor family with a recipient are typically coordinated by the Organ Procurement Organization (OPO). AlloSource sponsors a program where donor families and recipients can exchange letters to share stories about their experiences with donation. The Pathways Program’s vision is: The family of every organ and tissue donor will receive acknowledgement from someone who has benefited from their loved one’s gift. If you are interested in participating in the Pathways Program or to learn more, visit www.1000thanks.com.

An autograft is tissue removed from one part of a person’s body and transplanted into another part of the same person’s body. An allograft is tissue recovered from a tissue donor and transplanted into another person (the recipient).