Understanding Organ Donation
Transplantation is one of the most remarkable success stories in the history of medicine. But despite continuing advances in medicine and technology, the need for organs and tissue is vastly greater than the number available for transplantation.
Transplantation gives hope to thousands of people with organ failure and provides many others with active and renewed lives.
Despite continuing efforts at public education, misconceptions and inaccuracies about donation persist. Learn these facts to help you better understand organ, eye and tissue donation:
Here are the Facts:
Fact: Anyone can be a potential donor regardless of age, race, or medical history.
Fact: All major religions in the United States support organ, eye and tissue donation and see it as the final act of love and generosity toward others.
Fact: If you are sick or injured and admitted to the hospital, the number one priority is to save your life. Organ, eye and tissue donation can only be considered after you are deceased.
Fact: When you are on the waiting list for an organ, what really counts is the severity of your illness, time spent waiting, blood type, and other important medical information, not your financial status or celebrity status.
Fact: An open casket funeral is possible for organ, eye and tissue donors. Through the entire donation process the body is treated with care, respect and dignity.
Fact: There is no cost to the donor or their family for organ or tissue donation.
Fact: Signing a donor card and a driver's license with an "organ donor" designation may not satisfy your state's requirements to become a donor. Be certain to take the necessary steps to be a donor and ensure that your family understands your wishes.
Although there have been advances in medical technology and donation, the demand for organ, eye and tissue donation still vastly exceeds the number of donors. For more information, read the summary below or create a detailed data report on the UNOS Web site.
• More than 100,000 men, women and children currently need life-saving organ transplants.
• Every 11 minutes another name is added to the national organ transplant waiting list.
• An average of 18 people die each day from the lack of available organs for transplant.
• In 2008, there were 7,984 deceased organ donors and 6,218 living organ donors resulting in 27,961 organ transplants.
• In 2007, approximately 30,000 grafts were made available for transplant by eye banks within the United States.
• According to research, 98% of all adults have heard about organ donation and 86% have heard of tissue donation.
• 90% of Americans say they support donation, but only 30% know the essential steps to take to be a donor.