Did You Know?  Get the Facts

The United States is experiencing a critical shortage in organ donation.  Donations from deceased people help, providing over 12,000 organs in a typical year.  But the need is nearly 9 times greater.  To meet this drastic shortfall, many more living organ donors are needed.

The Critical Need

  • Over 106,000 people are on the national transplant waiting list.
  • Every 9 minutes, another person is added to that list.
  • 85% of patients are waiting for a kidney transplant.
  • 11% of patients are waiting for a liver transplant.
  • More than 39,000 transplants were performed in the U.S. in 2020, with life-saving organ donations from 5,700 living donors and 12,500 deceased donors.
  • Less than 60% of Americans have registered their intent to be organ donors at the time of their death.
  • Only 3 in 1,000 people die in a way that allows for deceased organ donation.
  • 17 people die each day, or 6,000 each year, waiting on the transplant list for an organ.

The Good News

  • When a living donor gives a portion of his/her liver, the partial liver in both the donor and the recipient will grow back to its original size and functionality in 6 to 8 weeks after surgery.
  • A deceased donor can impact the lives of up to 8 people with multiple life-saving organ transplants.
  • An organ donor does not need to be biologically related to be a successful match.
  • A single non-directed (anonymous) organ donation can start a chain of transplants that multiplies its life-giving impact.
  • If a kidney donor is ever in need of a kidney, he/she is given priority status on the transplant waiting list.
  • Each living organ donation shortens the transplant waiting list, making the wait time shorter for others.

 

Common Types of Organ Donation

Living Kidney Donation

A living person can donate one kidney. This is the most common living organ donation. The remaining kidney can do the work of two, just as the single transplanted kidney can restore healthy kidney function in the recipient.

 

Living Liver Donation

A living person can donate a portion of his/her liver. The liver is the only organ in the body that will regrow to full size and functionality. The partial transplanted liver will replace the recipient’s diseased liver and will also quickly grow back to full size and functionality.

Blood Stem Cell Donation

A living person can donate blood stem cells found in bone marrow. Although a person who registers to be a stem cell donor may not be called immediately, having more people on the registry makes the matching process quicker and more effective for those in critical need of a transplant.

Deceased Donation

Deceased donation is the process of giving an organ, eye or tissue donation at one’s death for the purpose of transplant to someone on the transplant waiting list.  It is the most common form of organ donation and a meaningful way to give the gift of life to others as a living legacy.

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