What is the shelf life of donated organs?

I can only answer for cornea and eye donation.

The FDA does all oversight (no pun intended) of organ disposition.

The main organs - hearts, liver, pancreas, lungs etc are transplanted within hours. They are just not viable if they are not being perfused constantly.

The other tissues like bone, skin, tendons, etc. do not need to be transplanted immediately. But I am not sure on the regulations of when they need to be transplanted.

With eyes there are 4 tissues that can be recovered.

We recover whole eyes for research and education purposes. These usually go much faster, but we can hold them up to a year.

Conjunctiva can also be recovered. Conjunctiva is a clear covering over most of the eye, it is what gets irritated when you have pink eye. I have been working as a recovery tech for 5 years, and our office has not had a request for “conj” in all that time. I believe it is mostly used for research, but I could be wrong.

Sclera is the white area of your eye. It is fairly thick and flexible. If you have ever touched a reptile egg, that is what it reminds me of. We recover sclera for transplant. They use it for several things, but mainly to patch punctures. Similar to if you pop the inner tube of your bike and repair it. Sclera can also be used to repair ear drums. We can hold onto this for up to a year.

The main thing we recover is corneas. In the USA we must transplant these within 7 days of recovery. (Recovery is usually within hours of death, but we can push it up to 20 hours after in needed.) Sometimes we have more corneas than we need for. Then they are shipped overseas and transplanted up to 14 days after recovery. There is no real different outcomes with the later transplant times, but the FDA in the USA made the rules.

This information was taken from Quora. Click here to view the original post.

Did you know that scientists are able to recover some organs? What do you think about the idea of organ donation?

#Science #Society #health #Quora


What are your thoughts on this subject?
Marian Spitzig
My husband was placed on the transplant list. Went through all the testing. Maybe 8-8 months later, as our kids were getting ready to be tested, they called my husband and told him on the phone that they were removing him from the list. Needless to say, this was one very upset, disappointed family, who have now buried a father and husband.
Feb 3, 2020 5:44PM
I love the idea of people helping others they don’t know. I personally am donating my whole body. Good luck!😃
Feb 19, 2020 10:05PM
Judi Hanan
Marian, what did they say was the reason for taking him off? I am sorry for your loss.
Jul 2, 2022 4:49PM
Paula Woodley
Taken my name off the donor list don't want my parts given to anyone else it could be someone who shouldn't be allowed to be kept alive i.e. murderers, illegal immigrants,rapists or dictators.
Mar 3, 2022 4:43PM
Julie Allen
Chriss Crockford, Can't understand why more people don't, It's not like they are going to be using them.
Jan 29, 2022 2:24AM
Eleanore Lavery McCann
How is this telling me the shelf life of donated organs besides the eye???
Nov 22, 2021 12:58PM
Maggie Schmidt
I have donated my body to science if wanted at time of death. I was already an organ donor but now I'm over 75 yrs I imagine a lot of organs won't be viable. Still a good teaching tool though.
Nov 20, 2021 3:48PM
John McLardie
Of even more use would have been the 'harvesting' limits on the removal of organs, etc., from recently deceased individuals who had given donor consent. For example, in the UK I understand that the liver should be removed within 2 hours of certification of death.
Mar 5, 2020 3:35AM
Humberto Carrasco, yes. My gentleman friend had a double organ transplant. Kidney and Pancreas. Cured his trauma induced diabetes
Oct 17, 2019 4:39PM
Humberto Carrasco
Jul 8, 2019 11:56AM
Lynne Cage
Informative thnx
Jul 6, 2019 4:06AM
Ron Dichoso
The title is “shelf life of donated organs” yet the writer is not expert on organ transplant but not even more we’ll explain on corneas. On the other hand thank you for those organ donor- you help extended countless lives. Check:
Jul 1, 2019 10:35AM
Chriss Crockford
Thank goodness there are selfless people who donate their organs.
Jun 23, 2019 3:35PM
Terry Lee Hammel
Interesting info.
Jun 8, 2019 7:47PM
Linda Evers
My grandsons life was saved by a bone marrow transplant which was flown from Germany to the UK. I don't know how long it took but it was the most precious gift from a stranger.
Jun 6, 2019 5:58PM

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