The number of people who need a lifesaving transplant continues to increase, faster than the number of available organs. Although nearly 97% of American adults support organ donation, only 48% are actually registered to become an organ donor.
One explanation for this disparity is because organ donation is riddled with many myths. That’s why it’s vital to know the facts and understand how you can give the gift of life through organ donation.
Here are top reasons to consider organ donation.
1. You can help others
Currently, there are close to 106,000 people waiting for organs. Kidney is the most needed organ on the waiting list, followed by the liver, heart and lung. A living donor can donate a kidney, or a portion of their liver, and still maintain a normal life with few restrictions.
Individuals who are on an organ transplant waiting list usually have end-stage organ failure, which means they’re in desperate need of a liver transplant, kidney transplant or heart transplant. Often, they’re close to the end of their life if an organ donor isn’t readily available. Organ donation can save the lives of these individuals and drastically affect their quality of life in a positive way.
2. You can save numerous lives
Another person is added to the transplant waiting list, every nine minutes. Each day, 17 people die waiting for an organ transplant. Every donor can save eight lives and enhance more than 75 more.
Let’s examine the organ donation facts:
- Two donated kidneys can end dialysis treatments for two patients.
- One donated liver can be split, to go into two patients on the waiting list.
- Another two patients are given a second chance, with two donated lungs.
- With one donated pancreas, a patient can receive the gift of life.
- One donated heart can save a life.
Likewise, one tissue donor can impact the lives of as many as 75 people. A tissue donor is someone who can donate bone, skin, cornea, connective tissue, tendons, sclera, and heart valves and vessels.
3. You can fill a critical need
More than half of all people on the transplant waiting list are from a racial or ethnic minority group, as per the Human Resources & Services Administration. Some diseases that cause end-stage organ failure are more common in these groups of people.
African Americans, Asians, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders, and Hispanics/Latinos, for example, are three times more likely than whites to suffer from end-stage renal (kidney) disease. Usually, this is the result of high blood pressure. Native Americans are four times more likely than whites to suffer from diabetes. An organ transplant is sometimes the best or only option for saving a life.
How You Can Make a Difference
Organ Donation and Transplant Association of America (ODTAA) is a non-profit organization that helps save lives by educating people about becoming an organ donor. To raise awareness, ODTAA provides information and facts to individuals who want to donate part of themselves or a financial donation to help another person. Save lives by registering as an organ donor and/or making a financial contribution.