Episode available within Canada only.

Take a fascinating journey inside the evolving science of transplants, where breakthrough discoveries are tackling the organ shortage and transforming the future of medicine.

We’ve all heard about the crisis in organ donation.  Even in the wealthiest countries, we lose many patients who could be saved with transplants. In Canada, one in four on the lung waitlist die waiting. Over 4,500 Canadians are waiting for kidneys – every day, four of them die.

Canadians are Dying Because Our Organ Donation Rate is Dismally Low
Filmmaker explores life and death decisions of Edmonton transplant institute

But there is hope. Transplant medicine is in the midst of a quiet revolution. Medical research is responding to the organ shortage, and we are seeing incredible advances in our understanding of organ rejection, ways of keeping organs alive outside the body, and even methods of building “bio-artificial” organs using stem cells.

SCENE FROM THE FILM: The team springs into place when a heart is found for baby Bergen.

Vital Bonds brings the audience into Canada’s busiest transplant center. With unprecedented access to surgeries and intensive care units, we encounter the realities of life, death, and the movement of human organs between donor and patient with unflinching authenticity. This includes an unbelievably powerful fly-on-the-wall sequence with a family in the process of losing their beloved 28-year old son, and making the decision to donate.

What Does It Mean To Give the Gift of Life?
Top Surgeon Tells Us About the Future of Transplant Medicine

Interwoven with emotionally raw personal narratives, we witness surgeons and scientists pushing the boundaries of the medically possible. While saving lives today, these techniques also offer the promise of solving the organ shortage and ending organ rejection tomorrow.

The Wild Canadian Year

Wild Canadian Year

Visit our website to watch the series online, discover extra behind-the-scenes stories and view Canada's nature scenes in 360. Visit Wild Canadian Year

From CBC Kids

The Nature of Thingies