National Donate Life Month
April is National Donate Life Month, which seeks to shed light on the more than 100,000 Americans waiting for organ and tissue transplants.
In 2011, 28,535 transplants were performed in the United States, with more than 6,000 of them as living donations. Organ donation currently meets less than 50 percent of demand, but progress toward a nationwide registry which would oversee paired kidney donation could help raise that number. Organizations such as the United Network for Organ Sharing's Kidney Paired Donation program have streamlined organ procurement by matching the donors' and recipients' biological characteristics.
Two organs in high demand for live transplantation are kidneys and partial livers. Advantages for living donations include shorter wait times, less time on dialysis, better-matched organs and a lower risk of rejection. A single donor can save the lives of nearly seven people through organ donation and enhance the lives of 50 people via tissue donation.
-compiled by Blythe Fiscella