10 Things You Should Know About Organ Donation
Advocacy Do you think there’s an age limit dictating who can donate organs? The answer to that, and many of the following facts, may surprise you.
1. The number
Last year almost 31,000 men, women and children in the United States received a lifesaving organ transplant.
2. The impact
Surgeons can transplant kidneys, livers, hearts, lungs, pancreas and intestines. One organ donor can save up to eight lives. Tissue from the same donor can enhance up to 75 more lives.
3. History made
Although rare, face and hand transplants are now possible. An eight-year-old boy received two new hands in 2015. He can now hug his sister and play football with his friends.
4. The system for donors
A national computer system and strict standards are in place to ensure that organs are distributed in an ethical and fair way. A nonprofit organization runs the nation’s transplant network under contract with the federal government, matching organs from deceased donors with people waiting, based on national organ allocation policy that balances making the best use of organs donated with being as fair as possible to all groups of people.
5. The criteria
Organ matching and allocation policy considers factors such as blood type, size of organs, how sick the transplant candidates are, how well the immune-systems match between donor and recipient, whether the transplant candidate is a child or adult, the distance between donor and recipient and how long the person has been waiting for an organ or has been on dialysis.
6. The donors’ union
Patients have a say in how organ transplant policy works. Transplant recipients, living donors and donor families serve on the committees and board of directors, and they work with transplant professionals to improve the way we share organs in the United States. The public also plays an important role by giving the transplant community feedback on policy proposals.
7. Kidney and liver demand
Almost 6,000 lives are saved every year by living kidney and liver donors. A healthy person can donate one of their kidneys or a part of their liver.
8. The daily rate
Eighty-five people get transplanted every day, but another 22 die waiting. You can make a difference and give hope to the 120,000 people waiting for transplant.
9. Hope for HIV-positive
Because of the federal HOPE Act, people who are HIV-positive can now donate their kidneys and livers to HIV-positive recipients.
10. Seniors donate
People in their 90s have been organ donors. Everyone should register to be an organ, eye and tissue donor in their state donor registry or at registerme.org.