Nearly 100,000 people in the United States are waiting for a kidney transplant, and more than 4,200 people die every year while they wait. Recent data from the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network and the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients show that even as more people need kidney transplants, nowhere near enough kidneys are available. It doesn’t have to be this way.
Unlike other organ transplants, there’s no need to wait for a kidney donor to die. Surgeons can transfer one kidney from a healthy, living individual to someone who is battling kidney failure. Afterward, both donor and recipient can live full, active lives.
Not only do kidneys from living donors function better and last longer than a kidney from a deceased donor (approximately 15-20 years for a living-donor kidney vs. 7-10 years for a deceased-donor kidney), living donors can shorten the time a recipient must wait for a transplant, which is on average three to five years. This means recipients may be healthier and stronger when they receive their kidneys, improving their outcomes.
Although living donors are the best source to increase the pool of available kidneys, unfortunately only one-third of U.S. kidney transplants come from living donors.
We must continue to work hard, donating our time and resources to encourage organ donation and further transplant research. Interested in the living-donation process? Go online and register your decision to be an organ, eye and tissue donor today.