Learn the Facts

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:

  • A doctor’s first priority is to save your life, whether you are a donor or not. Organ, eye and tissue recovery takes place only after all efforts to save your life have been exhausted and death has been legally declared. The doctors trying to save your life are completely separate from the medical team involved in recovering and transplanting organs and tissues.
  • People of all ages and medical histories can register as donors. Medical suitability is determined case-by-case, at the time of death. Even a person with a serious health problem like diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, or other conditions may still be able to donate at the time of death.  Potential donors are carefully screened prior to transplant to ensure that organs/tissues are safe for recipients.
  • A national computer system and strict standards are in place to ensure ethical and fair distribution of organs. Organs are matched by blood and tissue typing, organ size, medical urgency, waiting time, and geographic location. 
  • 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.
  • There is no cost to the donor’s family for donation.
  • It is illegal to buy and sell organs and tissue for transplant in the US.
  • All major religions support organ, eye and tissue donation as an act of charity. To find out a specific religious group’s official position on organ and tissue donation and transplantation, click here.

Interested in facts and statistics?

- An average of 81 transplants take place every day in the United States.

- Another person is added to the waiting list every 10 minutes. The average number of people who die every day because a transplant did not become available in time is now 22. 

- More than 123,000 people are waiting for an organ transplant in the United States.

- 2014 was a record breaking year for the number of transplants performed and the number of deceased donor transplants.  29,532 transplants were performed in 2014. It was the first time more than 29,000 transplants were performed in a single year.

- 23,715 transplants were from deceased donors.  Similarly, it was the first time more than 23,000 deceased-donor transplants were done in a year.

Still have questions?  First, use the search function at the top of this page to find references throughout our site or click here for FAQ’s.  If you can’t find what what you’re looking for please email us your question by clicking here.