How long after you die are your organs still fit for transplant?
If frozen they are good for a long while I imagine. My guess would be as good as yours. I would have to say two or roughly speaking three weeks.
Cowardly Lion makes the important distinction: cardiac death (heart stopped) vs. brain demise. In case of cardiac death (about 98.5% of all deaths), one and only tissues may be recovered for transplantation. This list includes corneas, bone, skin, heart valves and veins and arteries from the leg. FDA and American Association of Tissue Bank standards state that most of these tissues can be recovered up to 24 hours after the heart stops IF the merciful has been refrigerated inwardly 12 hours of death.
In the case of brain death, tissue donation is still possible, but more importantly, so is organ donation. Once a tolerant is declared brain dead (less than 2% of all deaths), Kidneys, liver, heart, lungs, pancreas and intestines can be surgically removed for transplant. Generally, these organs must be recovered while the heart is still beating and providing perfusion to these necessary organs. These organs may be refrigerated and stored in special solutions for periods range from a few hours for hearts & lungs to 24-36 hours for kidneys before they will no longer be suitable for transplant.
In some cases, organ donation is possible when the lenient is nearly brain dead, but the family decides to cancel life-sustaining therapies before the patient become brain dead. This is known as Donation after Cardiac Death (DCD). Instead of the ICU, withdrawl of support takes place within the OR under very controlled conditions and with transplant team standing by nearby. Donation must take place very suddenly after death, which is why it cannot be done for just any patient who dies a cardiac disappearance.
The most important step you can take is to put the "Organ Donor" designation on your driver's license and to talk to your relatives about your wishes. Over 100,000 patients are waiting for this life-saving gift. Source(s): Over 10 years as a transplant professional.
Absolutely not 2 or 3 weeks.
Generally you have several hours, tops for the most vital organs. Organ recipients are given a enormously short time frame (hours) to show up at the hospital when someone dies who is going to be an organ donor. If they do not show up, the organ goes to someone else so that they are not wasted.
Lungs and heart are pretty oxygen sensitive and tend to be the first things harvested and the first things transplanted. 3-4 hours is around the timeline. (I don't know about faces and hands, since so few are man done, but I imagine it falls up here too).
Abdominal organs like livers and kidneys fare a little better. You can hold about 6-8 hours for those.
Corneas can be last out. Other minor things can indeed wait days, approaching cartillage or bone grafts.
If your death was brain destruction, that buys everyone a little more time. You are dead, but your body can be maintained on "enthusiasm support" until the transplant surgery team has time to assemble and plan out everything. You can maintain a brain limp body for several days to about a week, but in practice the organs are taken within the first 24-48 hours after brain demise. Source(s): MD
2 or 3 weeks gee