Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses Biorepository: FAQ
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Will my family have to pay any costs if I decide to become an after-death organ donor?
No, we are responsible for all costs related to your organ donation as well as transportation of your body to and from the site where the donation is recovered. However, we cannot pay for the usual costs of the funeral, burial or cremation.
How soon after death must the organs be recovered?
We hope to recover the donated organs within 24 hours, although under certain circumstances, the time frame may be longer.
My family feels strongly about a wake with an open casket viewing. With an organ donation, will this still be possible?
Yes, the donated organs will be recovered in a manner that will not interfere with an open casket viewing.
What happens to donated tissue?
Donated tissue is sent to the VA Biorepository storage facility in Tucson, Arizona for analysis and storage. Researchers from around the country may request tissue samples to conduct approved research. Tissue requests from investigators are reviewed by an established review process approved by the VA Central Office (VACO) in Washington, D.C.
How will my confidentiality be protected?
The Veterans Health Administration complies with the requirements of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996 and its privacy regulations and all other applicable laws that protect your privacy. We will protect your information according to these laws.
To further help protect your privacy, we have received a Certificate of Confidentiality from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). With this Certificate, the researchers cannot be forced to disclose information that may identify you, even by court subpoena, in any federal, state, or local civil, criminal, administrative, legislative, or other proceedings.
I am in favor of contributing to medical research, but I'm not sure of my religion's position on organ donations. What should I do?
If this is of concern to you, you should consult with your religious leader. Many religions, but not all, have eliminated opposition to organ donations.
Who should I talk to about donating?
It is important that your family and doctor know your wishes in the event you become unable to make your own health care decisions. Please know that you or your family may change the decision about donating at any time. If you are interested in taking part, or have additional questions, please call the Gulf War Veterans Illnesses Biorepository at our toll free number: 1-855-561-7827.