Transplantation is a surgical process involving the removal of an organ from a healthy individual and placing it in a patient experiencing organ failure. Donor agencies consists of people who work to locate and collect suitable donors for the extraction of biological tissues, including the blood, bone marrow, and kidneys, among others. Examples of donor agencies include blood banks, fertility clinics, and medical schools.
Due to certain disease processes such as leukemia, sickle cell anemia, or trauma, patients frequently need blood or plasma replacement. Blood banks are donor agencies responsible for the testing, storage, and the collection of blood donated by public citizens. Events hosted by organizations including schools, churches, and businesses, blood drives turn out large numbers of people who volunteer to give blood. Donors are compensated for their time in a variety of ways, including money or gift coupons, while some blood banks accept only free donations.
Some donor agencies specialize in collecting egg donations for the purpose of helping infertile couples become pregnant. Such organizations are charged with screening prospective donors and pairing them up with couples planning to undergo in vitro fertilization (IVF), the process by which an egg and sperm are put together in the laboratory. Once the egg is successfully fertilized, the embryo is transplanted into the womb. Agencies offer compensation to donors, typically in the form of money and medical care associated with donation. The entire egg donation process takes about one month.
Educational institutions such as medical schools often use human cadavers for teaching and research studies. Programs for full body and organ donation are regulated by universities and private organizations, while other donor agencies include motor vehicle organizations, but this varies by region. All funeral costs, including embalming and cremation, tend to be covered for donors, which tends to be an incentive for people not wanting to leave relatives with funeral expenses to pay.
Driven by demand for transplant organs, illegal donor agencies procure and sell human organs for profit all over the world. A patient in need of an organ such as a liver or kidney leaves his or her country of origin and obtains a transplant. Referred to as transplant tourism, it is the most prevalent type of illegal organ trade in operation. People acting as agents, including professionals in health care, hunt for donors and match them with recipients who have the money to pay.