Every nine minutes, a new person joins the national waiting list for an organ transplant. “There are diseases with no cure that are only helped by transplants,” says Transplant Center Enterprise Director Charles Miller, MD. Here’s what you should know about organ donation:
Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy
2021 was a record-breaking year for organ transplants in the United States, crossing the 40,000 milestone for the first time. Cleveland Clinic saw a record number of transplants in 2021 as well. Dr. Miller stresses that these additional life-saving milestones could never be reached without the increase in individuals who chose to become donors.
Transplant surgeons have great respect for people who donate their organs, Dr. Miller explains. Organs are carefully recovered without any outward, visible signs — allowing most living donors to resume their normal activities a month after surgery and the families of deceased donors to continue with their desired funeral plans with no delay.
How do you donate an organ?
Becoming an organ donor is a simple process. You can register as an organ donor today at DONATELIFE.NET or when you renew your driver’s license.
Donors don’t have to be in perfect health and can be of any age. It doesn’t cost anything to donate and only takes a few moments to register.
How many organs can be donated?
Current and prospective donors may wonder which of their organs — and how many organs — they can donate. Living donors can donate these organs:
- Kidney (1).
- Lung (1).
- A part of your liver.
- A part of your pancreas.
- A part of your intestine.
For deceased donors, these organs can be donated:
- Kidneys (2).
- Lungs (2).
- Hands and face.
Additionally, deceased donors can donate their corneas and tissue to help restore sight, repair hearts, replace damaged veins, and heal burns, connective tissue and cartilage.
The following tissue can be donated:
- Middle ear.
- Heart valves.
Healthy, living donors can also donate blood, platelets, bone marrow and blood stem cells.
Why is organ donation important?
One person’s donation can positively impact more than 80 people, according to the Health Resources & Services Administration. One deceased donation can save eight lives and enhance the lives of 75 more.
“We need to be generous and help one another,” says Dr. Miller. “People on the waiting lists have families and children who need them. No one should be denied.”
Some day, it could be your own family or loved one who needs an organ and can benefit from another’s generosity.