Be An Organ Donor

  • More than 80,000 Americans are waiting for an organ transplant. More than 2,100 new patients are added to the waiting list each month.
  • Every day, 16 to 17 people die while waiting for a transplant of a vital organ, such as a heart, liver, kidney, pancreas, lung or bone marrow. Thousands of people await tissues for surgical procedures that will help them live normal lives. A donated cornea, for example, will help someone who is blind, to see again.
  • Because of the lack of available donors in this country, 2,295 kidney patients, 1,319 liver patients, 767 heart patients and 486 lung patients died in 1999 while waiting for life-saving organ transplants.
  • Acceptable organ and tissue donors can range in age from newborn to 65 years or older.
  • Organ donation is only an option after all attempts to save someone’s life have been exhausted.
  • An estimated 10,000 to 14,000 people who die each year meet the criteria for organ donation, but less than half of that number become actual organ donors.
  • Donor organs are matched to waiting recipients by a national computer registry called the National Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN). This computer registry is operated by an organization known as the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS).
  • By signing a Uniform Donor Card, an individual indicates his or her wish to be a donor. However, at the time of death, the person’s next-of-kin will still be asked to sign a consent form for donation. It is important for people who wish to be organ and tissue donors to tell their families about this decision so that their wishes will be honored at the time of death. It is estimated that about 35 percent of viable donors never become donors because family members refuse to give consent.
  • Organ transplant recipients are selected on the basis of medical urgency, as well as compatibility of body size and blood chemistries, and not race, sex or creed.
  • Advances in surgical techniques and organ preservation and the development of more effective drugs to prevent rejection have improved the success rate of all types of organ tissue transplants.
  • Virtually all religious denominations approve of organ and tissue donation as representing the highest humanitarian ideals and the ultimate charitable act.
  • To join the Organ Donor Registry click here

Sign up to be an Organ Donor