April 2, 2024/Transplant

Being an Organ Donor Means You Could Save Many Lives

More than 20 organs and tissues can be donated, and one donor can help more than 80 people

Healthcare provider in gloves holding hand of patient in hospital bed

Why organ donation is important

Every 10 minutes, a new person joins the national waiting list for an organ transplant. “There are many end-stage diseases with no other cure short of transplantation,” says Transplant Center Enterprise Director Charles Miller, MD.

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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.

Organ donation benefits

Here’s what you should know about organ donation:

Organ donation infographic

In 2023, more than 46,000 organ transplants were performed in the United States, setting the record for the most transplants in a year. Cleveland Clinic performed a record number of transplants in 2023 as well. Dr. Miller stresses that these milestones could never be reached without the increase in individuals who chose to become donors.

Transplant professionals have great respect for people who donate their organs, he adds. While most organs originate from deceased donors, another important source of organs comes from living donors. These donors can often resume their normal activities soon after their donation.

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, when you renew your driver’s license or on the Health app if you have an iPhone.

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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).
  • Uterus.
  • A part of your liver.

For deceased donors, these organs can be donated:

  • Kidneys (2).
  • Liver.
  • Lungs (2).
  • Heart.
  • Pancreas.
  • Intestines.
  • Uterus.
  • Hands and face.

Additionally, deceased donors can donate connective tissue and cartilage, as well as corneas and tissue to help restore sight, repair hearts, replace damaged veins and heal burns.

The following tissue can be donated:

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  • Corneas.
  • Middle ear.
  • Skin.
  • Heart valves.
  • Bone.
  • Veins.
  • Cartilage.
  • Tendons.
  • Ligaments.

Healthy, living donors can also donate blood, platelets, bone marrow and blood stem cells.

“We need to be generous and help one another,” encourages Dr. Miller. “People on the waiting lists have families and children who need them. No one should have to be left in need.”

Learn more about our editorial process.

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