FILE -In this Tuesday, Jan. 29. 2013, photo, retired Infantryman Brendan M. Marrocco participates in a news conference at Johns Hopkins hospital in Baltimore. Marrocco received a transplant of two arms from a deceased donor after losing all four limbs in a 2009 roadside bomb attack in Iraq. A Boston hospital is starting the world's first pediatric hand transplant program, a profound sign of the increased acceptance of doing face, hand and other transplants to improve quality of life rather than to save a life as donated hearts, livers and other organs have in the past. (AP Photo/Gail Burton, File)
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.
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