Hand, face transplants regulated like other organs

WASHINGTON (AP) — Sure, your liver or kidney could save someone's life. But would you donate your hands, or your face? Signing up to become an organ donor may get more complicated than checking a box on your driver's license.

The government is preparing to regulate the new field of hand and face transplants like it does standard organ transplants. That would give more Americans who are disabled or disfigured by injury, illness or combat a chance at this radical kind of reconstruction.

But among the first challenges is deciding how people should consent to donate these very visible body parts — without deterring them from traditional donation of hearts, lungs and other internal organs. A committee of the United Network for Organ Sharing will develop those policies over the next few months.