How many lives can you save?
Here are some facts to help you decide if registering as an organ donor is right for you.
Deciding whether to sign up as an organ donor is a difficult decision. If you've been thinking about how your choice can make a difference in the lives of others, consider these facts:
- 95% of adults in the United States support organ donation but only slightly more than 50% are registered as organ donors.
- Each year, the number of people on the waiting list grows at a higher rate than the number of organ donors.
- Approximately 120,000 people are currently on the national transplant waiting list and another person is added to the list every 10 minutes.
- Almost 2,000 children under the age of 18 are on the waiting list.
- More than half of people on the waiting list are ethnic minorities, including African Americans, Hispanics and Asian Americans. Transplant success is often better when organs are matched between people of the same racial or ethnic background and these communities are in great need of more organ donors.
- 22 people die each day waiting for an organ.
- Living donors may be able to help those waiting for kidney or liver transplants – 82% of people on the transplant list need a kidney and 13% need a liver. Living donors made almost 6,000 transplants possible in 2015. As a living donor, you can make a directed or non-directed donation and about 25% of living donors are not related to the recipient.
Anyone over the age of 18 can register as an organ donor. In some states, people under age 18 can register as well. You can sign up online through your state registry or register through your local motor vehicle department and you can update your registration status at any time. If you register as an organ donor, it's important to tell your family so they can help support your wishes.