The Basic Facts
- On average, 22 people die every day in the U.S. while awaiting a lifesaving organ transplant.
- The total number of patients waiting for an organ transplant today numbers more than 119,000. Over 600 of them are 5 years or younger.
- The waiting list for organ transplants is growing at the rate of 4,000 per month. Another name is added to the waiting list every 10 minutes.
- Over 30,000 organ transplants were performed in the United States in 2015.
- Yet in 2015, there were only 9,080 people who donated one or more organs upon death. There were another 5,987 living organ donors. (UNOS September 2016)
- The refusal rate among families of potential donors nationwide is around 50 percent. However, a recent Gallup poll found that 93% of respondents indicate they are in support of organ and tissue donation.
To ensure your wish to give life is carried out, through a donation directive, it is very important to sign up on the Donate Life Registry within your state (www.donatelife.net).
- Transplantation is no longer considered experimental. It is a desired treatment for thousands with end-stage organ disease. Each year, approximately 900,000 Americans receive tissue transplants.
- In recent years, medical breakthroughs have greatly improved the success rate for transplantation, which now generally runs in excess of 80 percent.
- Under ideal conditions, one person can donate as many as 8 organs (heart, 2 lungs, liver, pancreas, 2 kidneys, and intestine). At today’s average recovery rate, the current pool of potential donors could meet the needs of up to 50,000 people per year.
Also, to dispel some myths and misconceptions:
- Becoming a donor will not affect the quality of your medical care. Organ recovery takes place only after all efforts to save your life have been exhausted, and doctors have declared you legally brain dead. The donor family pays none of the costs associated with donation. If you are a donor, you can have an open casket funeral.
- Transplants are accessible and available to everyone. Celebrity status and wealth do not enter into the equation. Organs are allocated according to medical criteria (urgency of medical need, blood/tissue type, height and weight).
- Most major religions support or permit donation and consider it a gift, an act of charity.