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Communication Guidelines

When writing to your donor family you may:

  • Acknowledge and express sympathy for the donor family’s loss.
  • Thank the donor family.
  • Use simple language. Be sensitive to the feelings of the donor family.
  • Share general information about your life, occupation, family and friends, hobbies and interests.
  • Write about your transplant experience and how it has affected your life.
  • To respect confidentiality and anonymity, please sign only your first name. Don’t include last names, addresses, city names, phone numbers or names of hospitals or physicians.
  • Place your completed letter in an unsealed envelope. Include a separate sheet of paper with your full name and your date of transplant. Mail to your transplant coordinator at the transplant center.
  • The transplant coordinator will then mail your card or letter with the proper donor identification information to Donor Network of Arizona (DNA). We will forward it to the donor family.

The same process is true for any return correspondence from the donor family. We receive it and send it on to you through your transplant coordinator. The only way you and your donor family could come to know each other’s identity is if you mutually agree to exchange that information.

There is no right or wrong way to approach this communication. Some donor families do not desire any communication with the recipient. Other donor families want anonymous contact that is facilitated by us. Still, other donor families seek to move in the direction of a free, direct and mutual exchange between themselves and the recipient. DNA is here to facilitate the communication you want, not to direct you as to how or if you should communicate.

Just as you had to make the decision to write your donor family, the donor family also needs to decide whether they feel comfortable to read your correspondence and write back. If you do not receive any return correspondence from the donor family, please remember that the donor family is coping with the loss of their loved one and that individuals handle grief in different ways. We at DNA are thankful that you took the time to write to the family and express your gratitude. Even if they feel unable to communicate with you, they will always know that you cared and were thankful for their donation.

If you need further information about writing to donor families, please call your transplant coordinator, or call Donor Family and Advocate Services at DNA: 602-222-2273 or 1-800-943-6667, ext. 2273.

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