Unyts is Western New York’s only organ, eye, tissue and community blood center. Our commitment is to save and enhance lives through organ, eye, tissue and blood donation, while maintaining respect for those who give the gift of life.

Unyts is the federally designated organ procurement organization for the eight counties of Western New York - Alleghany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Niagara, Orleans and Wyoming counties.

As WNY’s only community blood bank it is our responsibility to answer the call for blood at our local hospitals – including Kaleida Health, ECMC, Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center, Eastern Niagara Health Systems and Wyoming County Community Health System – and ensure that we are providing an adequate supply for patients in need.

Unyts operates under the d/b/a Unyts. It is no longer correct to refer to Unyts as “Upstate New York Transplant Services” or by the acronym “UNYTS.”

Media contact

For media inquiries, please contact Director of Marketing & Development Sarah R. Diina at sdiina@unyts.org, 716.512.7914 or 716.853.6667.

Donation terminology

Certain terms and phrases, when used in the context of donation and transplantation, may be inaccurate or unintentionally hurtful to the families of organ, eye and tissue donors. Even professionals may mistakenly use outdated terminology.

Inappropriate Term

Appropriate Term

“harvesting” of organs

“recovery” or “donation” of organs

“declare brain death”

“determine brain death”

“life” support

“mechanical” or “ventilator” support

“body parts”

“donated organs and tissues” 

“cadaveric” donation

“deceased” donation  

“cadaver” (when used in a donation context)

“deceased donor”       

The Donor Family Council of the Association of Organ Procurement Organizations has approved the terminology above. The language is also supported by the American Society of Transplantation and American Society of Transplant Surgeons.

Brain death

The terms “brain death” and “brain dead” are sometimes misused or misunderstood. The United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) explains that brain death is “Irreversible cessation of cerebral and brain stem function; characterized by absence of electrical activity in the brain, blood flow to the brain, and brain function as determined by clinical assessment of responses. A brain dead person is dead, although his or her cardiopulmonary functioning may be artificially maintained for some time.”

Hospitals have written policies specifying the process of determining brain death, which include examinations and tests by medical professionals. Brain death is death, both legally and medically. Thus, a person who is brain dead should not be said to be on “life support,” but instead on “mechanical support” or “ventilator support.”