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AATB Protects the Safety of Donated Human Tissue for Research and Education

McLean, VA., April 15, 2019

Advancements in medical education and research rely heavily on the support and generosity of donors who altruistically elect to donate their bodies after death. Non-transplant Anatomic Donation Organizations, or NADOs, are professional entities that recover and/or distribute human tissue donations that are intended for research and education. The American Association of Tissue Banks (AATB) publishes the most comprehensive and detailed standards available in the world, the Non-Transplant Standards for Tissue Banking, which outline the highest safety and quality standards for the donation and distribution of tissue for research and education.

In order to ensure the safety and availability of donated human tissue, AATB also offers a voluntary accreditation program which is the most stringent level of oversight available to NADOs. AATB accreditation requires an organization to demonstrate that its practices are compliant with all applicable AATB Standards, and that it follows all AATB Accreditation Policies. Successfully obtaining this voluntary accreditation shows a commitment to quality, transparency, public safety, and excellence in service to donor families and the medical research and education communities.

Accredited NADOs are required to obtain and document proper authorization from a donor or other authorizing person, such as a family member, before accepting donated tissue. NADOs are also required to perform thorough and rigorous screening and testing for communicable diseases in order to protect and ensure the safety of staff, educators and researchers.

Reports of criminal and ethical breaches by non-AATB accredited NADOs reinforce the inherent value of AATB Standards and accreditation. Adhering to these codes of conduct not only demonstrates a commitment to safety and quality, but also shows a deep respect for donors and donor families that all organizations recovering and providing gifts of human tissue should strive for. The donation of tissues after death is a truly extraordinary gift deserving of the highest respect, gratitude, and care.

AATB encourages all individuals considering whole body donation to partner with an AATB accredited NADO. A list of currently accredited organizations can be found on the AATB website. Similarly, any organization that uses tissue for medical education or research should only use tissue from an AATB accredited NADO.​

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