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Writing to your transplant recipient or donor family

The decision to write to a recipient or donor family is a personal one. Some family members find that sharing information about their loved one helps them in their grief journey. Others may write to ask about the recipient of their loved one’s gifts.

Whatever your reason, the choice is yours.

How it works

LifeGift’s Family Support team is here to help if you choose to correspond with your recipient or donor family. Once you provide the information to LifeGift, our team reviews your letter to ensure confidentiality and then forwards it to the recipient’s transplant center who in turn sends it to the recipient. If you are reaching out to your donor family, we will share your information directly with the next of kin of your donor. This ensures confidentiality and support throughout the communication process.

1. Provide general information

This may include:

  • Your first name and relationship to the donor – please do not include last names
  • Your loved one’s first name – please do not include the last name
  • His or her job or occupation
  • The state (not city) in which the donor lived
  • The donor’s marital status, children, grandchildren – please do not include last names

Carefully consider whether to include religious comments because the views of the recipient(s) are unknown.

2. Conclude your letter

  • Sign your first name only
  • Do not reveal your address, city, email or phone number
  • Do not reveal the name or location of the hospital where the donation took place.

3. Prepare to send your letter

  • Place the letter in an unsealed envelope within the mailing envelope
  • Include a separate piece of paper listing your full name, the donor’s full name, and the donation date

4. Mail your correspondence

Attention: LifeGift Family Support Coordinator
2510 Westridge Street
Houston, Texas 77054 

A LifeGift team member will review your correspondence to ensure confidentiality. We then will forward it to the transplant coordinator at the transplant center, who then should send it to the recipient. Please allow several weeks for this process to take place.

Will I hear from the transplant recipient or donor family?

While you may wish to correspond with a transplant recipient or donor family, it also is a personal choice whether they return the sentiment. Some transplant recipients have said that the life-saving gift can be overwhelming, and it is difficult for them to express their gratitude in words. Still others may take several months or years before they feel comfortable responding to their donor family. When you write to a donor family, we know they will find your outreach comforting. When you acknowledge their loss and express your thanks, you make their loved one’s gift even more meaningful.

Guides to writing to your transplant recipient or donor family

Support for writing letters to loved ones’ transplant recipients

Support for writing letters to donor family members

If you need further information about corresponding with transplant recipients, please contact LifeGift at or 800-633-6562.

Looking for resources?

LifeGift’s Family Support team provides ongoing support and communication to families following donation.