In July 2014, American donors will be signing up not only to donate their heart, liver and kidneys but also their hands and face. In fact, the Federal Government intends to increase the list of organs that can be donated.
Donors will not be able to choose which organs to donate but must sign a form to donate all of the organs included in the extended list. Some fear that people will be less inclined to donate visible organs of the body. "The ‘all or nothing’ approach may lead to a reduction in the number of donors".
The United Network for Organ sharing (UNOS), a scientific association, is responsible for introducing these new strategies in the coming months. Its President, Suzanne Mc Diarmid, does not wish to sap public confidence and is therefore clearly outlining the new donor commitments. The UNOS management committee must decide on the approaches to be adopted in relation to these new transplants such as drafting the waiting list and defining the expertise required by transplantation centres.
At the present time, hand and face transplantations are rare and are carried out at the experimental level. According to the world press agency, the Associated Press, "an estimated 27 hand transplantations have been recorded in the United States since 1999, and 7 partial or total face transplantations since 2008".