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Information for Healthcare Professionals

Hospitals and healthcare professionals serve a critical role in helping people receive the gift of life.
You are encouraged to tap into the resources on this page to help navigate the donation process.

Donation and Transplantation: How does it work?



Top 10 things every healthcare professional should know

What if I am not a match?

For kidney donations, if you do not match your intended recipient you can take part in a “paired kidney exchange”. This is where the transplant center pairs you with another living donor who is not a match for their intended recipient and the donations are “swapped” between the two recipients. You can also do a non-directed or altruistic donation. This is when you do not know who will be the recipient and the match is made purely on medical compatibility and need.

What are recent advances in living organ donation?

Today, kidney removals (nephrectomies) for living donors can be done using laparoscopic surgery which requires a few small keyhole incisions instead of one large incision. This type of surgery reduces pain and recovery time for the donor. Some centers are also using robotic-assisted surgical systems that provide the surgeon better control and precision and further decreases pain and shortens recovery for the donor.

How do I start the process?

If you have a designated recipient, you can begin the process by contacting the recipient’s transplant center. Many centers have a form on their website you can submit to begin the process, or you can call the transplant center and ask to speak with the living donor coordinator for the organ you wish to donate.

Remember, this act is completely voluntary; you can delay or stop the process at any time. Your reasons for choosing to not donate, or if you are found not be medically suitable, will remain confidential and not shared with the recipient or other family members.

There are five transplant facilities offering living donation in Virginia; click on the link for a list of centers and contact information. Please Note: You can only sign up to be a living donor at a transplant center that performs living donor transplants. Signing up on DLVA will only register you for deceased organ donation.

Where can I get more information?

United Network for Organ Sharing –

Donate Life America –

National Kidney Foundation –

National Kidney Registry –

American Transplant Foundation –

Additional Resources

Virginia Laws

32.1-297.1. The Virginia Transplant Council

The Virginia Transplant Council (d/b/a Donate Life Virginia) is hereby established to create, compile, maintain, and modify as necessary the Virginia Donor Registry in accordance with the regulations of the Board of Health and the administration of the Department of Health. [source]

32.1-291.14. Rights and duties of procurement organization and others.

When a hospital refers an individual who is dead or whose death is imminent to a procurement organization, the organization shall make a reasonable search of the records of the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles and any donor registry that it knows exists for the geographical area in which the individual resides to ascertain whether the individual has made an anatomical gift. [source]

Related Partners

Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles

The Virginia DMV helps promote the Virginia Donor Registry through their partnership with the Donate Life Virginia.

Donate Life America

Donate Life America (DLA) is an independent national organization devoted to inspiring people to save and enhance lives through organ, eye and tissue donation. Donate Life America manages and promotes the national brand for donation, Donate Life, and assists Donate Life State Teams and national partners in facilitating high-performing donor registries.

Eye Banks

The Lions Medical Eye Bank (LMEB) and Old Dominion Eye Foundation(ODEF) provide human eye tissue for transplant, research and education in the Commonwealth of Virginia and work to register organ, eye and tissue donors.

Organ Procurement Organizations (OPO)

An organ procurement organization (OPO) is a federally-designated agency responsible for facilitating the organ, eye and tissue donation process of deceased individuals. OPOs work collaboratively with their local hospital partners, medical professionals, donor families and community members to build programs, systems and processes needed to make donation possible. There are 58 OPOs nationwide. LifeNet Health (LNH), Washington Regional Transplant Community (WRTC) and Tennessee Donor Services serve Virginia.

Tissue Banks

A tissue bank is an establishment that collects and recovers human cadaver tissue for the purposes of medical research, education and allograft transplantation. LifeNet Health and WRTC serve Virginia.


United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) is a private organization that manages the nation’s organ transplant system under contract with the federal government. UNOS maintains the national organ waiting list.

Contact Your Nearest Transplant Center

Charlottesville, VA

University of Virginia Transplant Center
1215 Lee Street, Charlottesville, 22903

Adult: heart, kidney, lung, pancreas, kidney/pancreas, liver
Pediatric: heart, liver, kidney

Norfolk, VA

Sentara Norfolk General Hospital
600 Gresham Drive, Norfolk, 23507

Adult: heart, kidney, pancreas

Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters
601 Children’s Lane, Norfolk, 23507

Pediatric: kidney

Northern VA

Inova Fairfax Hospital
8110 Gatehouse Road, Falls Church, 22042

Adult: heart, kidney, lung, pancreas, kidney/pancreas

Richmond, VA

Virginia Transplant Center, Henrico Doctors’ Hospital
1602 Skipwith Road, Richmond, 23229

Adult: kidney

Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical Center
1201 Broad Rock Boulevard, Richmond, 23249

Adult: heart

VCU Health Hume-Lee Transplant Center
1250 East Marshall Street, Richmond 23298

Adult: kidney, liver, pancreas, heart
Pediatric: kidney

DLVA Locations Map

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