Are you an organ donor? Here’s why you should be

When a patient is notified that an organ donor has been found for their particular need, it’s an emotional moment filled with relief, gratitude and remembrance. As the national transplant list continues to grow, there are currently more than 114,000 patients waiting for a lifesaving transplant. Each day, about 10 people are added to this list. In one year about 8,000 people die each day waiting for an organ match and transplant, which is about 22 people per day.

However, each organ and tissue donor has the potential to save up to eight of those lives, improve the health of 75 lives and and enhance eyesight for at least two people on the transplant list. The need for minority donor organs is even greater for transplants as matching blood types is generally necessary.

Organs and tissues that can be donated include:

  • The heart
  • Kidneys
  • Pancreas
  • Lungs
  • Liver
  • Intestines
  • Hands
  • Face
  • Cornea
  • Skin
  • Heart valves
  • Bone
  • Blood vessels
  • Connective tissue
  • Bone marrow
  • Stem cells
  • Umbilical cord blood

There are two types of organ donation: deceased and living. The most known and completed transplantations are those from deceased organ donors.

Living donations occur when a living person donates a part of their organ or a complete organ for transplantation. There are about 6,000 living organ donations annually. Surprisingly, most people are not aware of this option for organ donation. If you are a living donor, you can donate one of two kidneys, one of the two lobes of the liver, a full or partial lung, part of the pancreas or intestines.

Some people with medical conditions are still able to donate depending on the condition of particular organs. No matter if it’s only one organ or tissue, they will save or improve the life of someone else.

Absolute conditions someone might not qualify for living kidney donation include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Heart disease
  • Kidney disease

The number of patients in need of a transplant is far greater and grows exponentially faster than the number of donors available. Becoming a donor is easy and is the gift of life to those in need of a second chance at life. Adults and, in some states, people under 18 can register as organ donors. There is no cost to your family if you donate. Newborns to seniors can even donate. You can register online or in-person at your local motor vehicle department as you would when you renew your license. Another option is to sign up online by your state here.

In addition to transplantation, UofL Health – Trager Transplant Center is actively involved with efforts to increase awareness of the need for organ donation in collaboration with Kentucky Organ Donor Affiliates. Although you may never need a transplant, you can pass on the gift of life by registering to become an organ donor today. Register today!


For more information on our advanced organ disease programs and organ transplantation, visit UofL Health – Trager Transplant Center.

UofL Health – Trager Transplant Center
220 Abraham Flexner Way, 3rd Floor
Louisville, KY 40202

Still have questions, contact our organ-specific teams:

Advanced Heart Failure Therapies: 502-587-2883
Heart & Lung: 502-587-4384
Liver, Kidney & Pancreas: 502-587-4358

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About Lina Mackelaite, M.D.

Dr. Lina Mackelaite was born in Vilnius, Lithuania. She finished medical school there with her husband, who is also a nephrologist. In 2009, she finished an internal medicine residency and general nephrology fellowship at Drexel University. Dr. Mackelaite also completed a transplant fellowship at Westchester Medical Center in New York. In 2010, she and her family moved to Louisville and she joined UofL Physicians – Nephology with a focus on transplant nephrology. She loves spending time outdoors hiking or biking with her three children, as well as, playing the cello.

All posts by Lina Mackelaite, M.D.