How many people are waiting for a transplant? Who receives organs and what organs are most needed? This section introduces you to the data and connects you to more detailed statistics on the waiting list, transplantation, organ donation, and registration.*
Statistics at a Glance
Current number of men, women and children on the national transplant waiting list.
transplants were performed in 2015.
people die each day waiting for a transplant.
We All Need to Register. Here’s Why:
of U.S. adults support organ donation
are actually signed up as donors.
every 10 minutes
another person is added to the waiting list.
only 3 in 1,000
people die in a way that allows for organ donation.
the waiting list grows
Each year, the number of people on the waiting list continues to grow, while the number of donors and transplants grows slowly.
Data from optn.transplant.hrsa.gov and OPTN/SRTR Annual Report. OPTN has current, in-depth statistics. Click to view.
Description of Gap Continues to Widen Graph
One Donor Can Save Eight Lives.
One person can donate up to 8 lifesaving organs.
Who Can Donate?
All people should consider themselves potential organ and tissue donors—regardless of age or health. Don’t rule yourself out! No one is too old or too young to be a deceased donor and most major religions support donation.
Here are some of the most commonly asked questions related to organ donation eligibility.
What if I have a health condition?
Even with an illness or a health condition, you may be able to donate your organs and/or tissues upon death. If the situation arises upon death, doctors will examine your organs and determine whether they are suitable for donation. Only few conditions would absolutely prevent a person from becoming a donor—such as active cancer or a systemic infection.
At what age can someone become a donor?
Newborns and senior citizens into their 90s have been organ donors. The health of your organs is more important than your age.
Does my religion support donation?
The act of organ donation enjoys broad support among many religions in the United States. Some major religions have released official statements or policies about donation.
Can I be a living donor?
Although most donations come from deceased donors, a few organs (a kidney, part of a liver, lung, pancreas, or intestine, and some tissues) can be donated by living donors. Living donors most frequently donate a kidney.
Who Can Sign Up as a Donor?
Because so few people who sign up can actually become donors, we hope everyone will register, so we can save more lives. Here are guidelines about registration.
Over 18. All people age 18 and older can register to be an organ, eye, and tissue donor. You can choose what you wish to donate, and you can change your status at any time.
Under 18. In many states, people younger than 18 can also register, although their families will have the final say if the occasion arises for donation before they turn 18.
How Organ Donation Works
How does donation work? How are organs matched? This section explains the donation and transplant process. For more organ donation information, read the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) below.
More than 125 million people have registered as organ donors, but only about 3 in 1,000 can actually become donors when they die. Learn about the process of becoming a deceased organ donor.
The Living Donation Process
While most organ and tissue donations occur after the donor has died, some organs (including a kidney or part of a liver or lung) and tissues can be donated while the donor is alive. There are about as many living donors every year as there are deceased donors.
Matching Donors with Recipients
Patients on the waiting list are registered in a national computer network. Whenever donor organs are identified, a nationwide computer program at the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) exit disclaimer generates a list of potential recipients ranked by certain criteria. Here are some of the common factors and specific criteria used for matching.