Each year more than 7.500 deceased donors make possible more than 21,000 organ transplants. In addition, there are more than 7,000 transplants from living donors.
There are also 25,000 tissue donors and 40,000 cornea donors annually, providing more than 900,000 tissue and corneal transplants.
The need for donated organs, eyes, and tissue continues to grow. More than 91,500 men, women, and children currently await life-saving organ transplants. Sadly, an average of 17 people die wach day due to the lack of available organs.
Every donor can save and enhance the lives of up to 50 people.
Facts about Organ, Eye, and Tissue Donation
* People of all ages and medical histories should consider themselves potential donors. Your medical condition at the time of deathwill determine what organs and tissue can be donated.
* Donated organs, including the heart, pancreas, kidneys, liver, lungs, and intestines, restore life.
* Tissue is needed to replace bone, tendons and ligaments lost to trauma, cancer, and other diseases in order to improve strength, mobility, and independence. Corneas are needed to restore sight. Skin grafts help burn patients heal and often mean the difference between life and death. Heart valves repair cardiac defects and damage.
* All major religions sup[port organ, eye, and tissue donation as an unselfish act of charity.
* There is no cost to the donor's family or estate for donation. The donor family pays only for for medical expenses before death and not for funeral expenses.
* It is illegal to buy or sell organs and tissue for transplantation in the United States.
*It is possible to donate life to others as a living kidney or partial liver, lung, or pancreas donor.
How the donation process works
Your commitment to donation will NOT interfere with your medical care. Organ, eye and tissue donation becomes an option only after all life-saving efforts have been made and death has been declared.
Consent for donation is confirmed and your family is asked to participate in the process by providing your medical history.
Surgical procedures are used to recover donated organs, eyes, and tissue. The body is always treated with great care and respect.
Donation should not delay or change funeral arrangements. An open casket service is possible.
Who receives donated organs and tissue.
Organs are distributed based upon medical information like blood type, body size, and tissue type matching through a national computer network operated by the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS). It is illegal to distribute organs based on non-medical information such as wealth, citizenship, or celebrity status.
Tissue is distributed based upon patient need, availability, and medical criteria.