Organ Donation

In the United States and around the globe, a shortage is growing. This shortage is not of doctors or of medical facilities. In fact, it’s something over which Mayo Clinic can have almost no control: the number of organs donated for transplantation.

  • More than 101,000 people are waiting today for transplant surgeries , according to the official U.S. government Web site for organ and tissue donation. Each is waiting for “the gift of life.”
  • The number of people who need a transplant continues to rise faster than the number of available donors. The waiting list for transplants grows by approximately 300 people each month.
  • Each day, approximately 77 people receive an organ transplant.
  • However, 19 people die each day waiting for transplants that can’t take place because of the shortage of donated organs.

Mayo Clinic is the largest transplant center in the country and a leader in transplant research. Patients today benefit from recent advances in transplant medicine. They have more options for care than existed as recently as 10 years ago.

But without organ donors — people who have designated their consent to donate vital organs after death — nothing can be done for thousands of patients whose only hope lies in the forethought and generosity of others whom they may never meet.

One donor can save up to eight lives and enhance the lives of 50 others. Organ donation gives life and costs nothing.

How Can You Become an Organ Donor?

Becoming an organ donor is easy. Every adult can designate himself or herself as a donor by taking one of three actions:

Also, people younger than 18 years old can designate themselves as donors with parental or guardian consent.

However, these actions do not guarantee donation without a second critical step: at time of death, a designated donor’s family or next-of-kin will be asked to sign an organ donation consent form. Therefore, it is vitally important for people to talk with their families about their wish to donate organs. One-third of consenting donors never realize their wish to donate because family members subsequently refuse permission — in many cases simply because they are unaware of their loved one’s preference.

Mayo Clinic benefits from the work of several outstanding organizations that facilitate organ donation across the United States. In particular, LifeSource provides insightful answers to many questions on the donation process, separates myth from fact on organ donation, offers helpful religious perspectives, and highlights one of the richest aspects of deciding to donate — the legacy such an act creates for others.

Facts about organ donation
About the donation process
Document your decision
Please consider becoming an organ donor; your decision can make a permanent and wonderful impact on the lives of others.