Organ and Tissue Donation: Giving the Gift of Life

Organ and Tissue Donation: Giving the Gift of Life

Currently, 56 percent of the U.S. adult population are registered organ and tissue donors, yet the number of people in need of transplants continues to outpace the number of organs donated. More than 119,000 people are waiting for a transplant and a second chance at life. On average, 22 people die each day because the organ they need is not donated in time. That is almost one person dying every hour. Registering your decision to become a donor is the most effective way to save lives through donation and is a sign of support to those who continue to wait.

In addition to organ donation, tissue donations help over one million individuals each year. Heart valve, bone, and skin donations give recipients a new chance at a healthy life. The recovery of tendons and ligaments can help heal a severe sports injury, and cornea donations give the gift of sight.

Organ and tissue donations heal and save lives. We encourage everyone to consider registering as a donor.

Who can be a donor?

People of all ages and medical histories should consider themselves potential deceased donors. Your medical condition at the time of death will determine what organs and tissue can be donated. Living donors should be in good overall physical and mental health and older than 18 years of age. Some medical conditions could prevent an individual from being a living donor. Transplant programs complete a full patient evaluation to protect both living donor and recipient health and safety.

Does registering as a donor change my patient care?

Doctors work hard to save every patient’s life, but sometimes there is a complete and irreversible loss of brain function. The patient is declared clinically and legally dead. Only then is donation an option.

Does my religion support organ, eye and tissue donation?

All major religions support donation as a final act of compassion and generosity.

Is there a cost to be an organ, eye and tissue donor?

There is no cost to the donor’s family or estate for donation. The donor family pays only for medical expenses before death and costs associated with funeral arrangements.

Does my social and/or financial status play any part in whether or not I will receive an organ if I ever need one?

No. A national system matches available organs from the donor with people on the waiting list based on blood type, body size, how sick they are, donor distance, tissue type and time on the list. Race, income, gender, celebrity, and social status are never considered.

Why should I register my decision to be a donor?

Transplantation is one of the most remarkable success stories in the history of medicine. It offers patients a new chance at healthy, productive, and normal lives, and returns them to their families, friends, and communities.

The vast majority of Americans support donation as an opportunity to give life and health to others. Unfortunately, many people overlook the important step of registering as a donor. Donors are often people who die suddenly and unexpectedly. Their families are then faced with making the decision at a time of shock and grief. Registering relieves your family of this burden and serves as a gift to them, as well as to the grateful recipients of your donation.

To register your decision to be a donor, please visit RegisterMe.org.

For more information about organ, eye, tissue, and living donation, please visit DonateLife.net.