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Communication with Donor Families

Communication with Donor Families

At Midwest Transplant Network, we support written correspondence between transplant recipients and the family members of organ donors.

Many transplant recipients choose to write the donor families to express their gratitude. The decision to write to your donor family is very personal. It’s not always easy to express how you feel, or find the right words to say “thank you.”

If you wish to write a letter to the family of your donor, here are some suggestions on what to include in your communication, as well as important information about the mailing process:

  • Use first names only.
  • Use the region in which you live (Midwest, South, etc.).
  • Share your job or occupation, hobbies and/or interests.
  • You may share your family situation, such as marital status, children or grandchildren (if you provide names, use first names only).
  • Treat religious comments in a sensitive manner.
  • It is OK to include appropriate family pictures.
  • Use simple language.
  • Thank your donor family for their generosity.
  • Do not reveal the name of your transplant center or physician.
  • Describe how long you waited for a transplant.
  • Explain how the transplant has improved your health and changed your life.
  • Explain what has happened in your life since the transplant.
  • Sign your first name only.
  • Do not reveal your home address, city, phone number or email address.
  • Do not reveal the name of your transplant center or physician.
  • Place it in an unsealed envelope.
  • Include in the envelope on a separate piece of paper:
    • Your full name
    • Date of your transplant

Place these items inside another envelope and give to your transplant coordinator or mail to:

Midwest Transplant Network, Inc.

Donor Family Services

1900 W. 47th Place, Suite 400

Westwood, KS 66205

Please allow a few weeks for your letter to reach the donor family. Our Donor Family Services Coordinator will review your card or letter to ensure confidentiality, and then will forward it to your donor’s family to maintain donor/recipient anonymity. Please contact your transplant coordinator for more details on how your transplant center facilitates such requests.

Will I hear from my donor family?

You may or may not receive a response from your donor family. While most find it healing to hear a recipient’s story, some families prefer privacy and choose not to communicate with the recipient of their loved one’s donation. Others just need time until they decide to respond.

Will I be able to communicate directly with my donor family?

If you wish to communicate directly with your donor family, Midwest Transplant Network can help facilitate your request if the following conditions have been met:

  • Each party has written to the other at least one time anonymously.
  • Both parties have expressed a desire to have non-anonymous communication.
  • Both parties have signed and notarized the designated release form and returned it to Midwest Transplant Network.

For more information about communication with family members of organ and tissue donors or to request a release form, please contact us.