• There are currently 122,403 people waiting for lifesaving organ transplants in the U.S. Of these, 101,189 await kidney transplants. (as of 10/8/15) 1
  • The median wait time for an individual’s first kidney transplant is 3.6 years and can vary depending on health, compatibility and availability of organs.2
  • In 2014, 17,105 kidney transplants took place in the US. Of these, 11,570 came from deceased donors and 5,535 came from living donors.1

On average:

  • Over 3,000 new patients are added to the kidney waiting list each month.1
  • 12 people die each day while waiting for a life-saving kidney transplant.1
  • Every 14 minutes someone is added to the kidney transplant list. 1
  • In 2014, 4,270 patients died while waiting for a kidney transplant. Another, 3,617 people became too sick to receive a kidney transplant.1

2014 Donor Profile1

  Living Deceased
Age All living donors in the United States must be at least 18 years old to consent to donation. There were 5,538 living donors in 2014.



<1:  0

1-5: 0

6-10: 0

11-17: 0

18-34: 1,627

35-49: 2,258

50-64: 1,492

65+: 161

The total number of deceased donors (7,761) does not add up to the total number of deceased donor transplants because many deceased donors are able to give both of their kidneys.


<1:  100

1-5: 212

6-10: 103

11-17: 387

18-34: 2,328

35-49: 2,099

50-64: 2,110

65+: 422

Gender Male: 2,052

Female: 3,486

Male: 4,647

Female: 3,114

Ethnicity White/Caucasian: 3,895

Black: 592

Hispanic: 762

Asian: 221

American Indian/Alaska Native: 19

Pacific Islander: 10

Multiracial: 39

White/Caucasian: 5,266

Black: 1,101

Hispanic: 1,033

Asian: 196

American Indian/Alaska Native: 46

Pacific Islander: 28

Multiracial: 91

Column 1: Relationship to Recipient

Column 2: Deceased Donor Cause of Death

Parent to Child: 453

Child to Parent: 772

Identical Twin: 7

Full Sibling: 1,071

Half Sibling: 54

Other Relative: 336

Spouse or Life Partner: 700

Unrelated Paired Donation: 544

Unrelated Anonymous Donor: 181

Friends or Other Unrelated Non-Anonymous Donor: 1,278

Anoxia: 2,541

Cerebro Vascular/Stroke: 2,419

Head Trauma: 2,560

CNS Tumor: 31

Other: 210


2014 Kidney Transplant Recipient Profile1

  Received Kidney from Living Donor Received Kidney from Deceased Donor
Age <1: 0

1-5: 63

6-10: 52

11-17: 127

18-34:  1,035

35-49: 1,590

50-64: 1,913

65+: 753

<1: 0

1-5: 88

6-10: 75

11-17: 307

18-34: 1,033

35-49: 2,772

50-64: 4,732

65+: 2,562

Gender Male: 3,464

Female: 2,071

Male: 7,068

Female: 4,502

Ethnicity White/Caucasian: 3,705

Black: 702

Hispanic: 776

Asian: 283

American Indian/Alaska Native: 22

Pacific Islander: 12

Multiracial: 35

White/Caucasian: 4,907

Black: 3,614

Hispanic: 1,962

Asian: 814

American Indian/Alaska Native: 140

Pacific Islander: 59

Multiracial: 74


Becoming a Donor

  • Acceptable organ donors can range in age from newborns to 65 years or more.
  • Donor organs are matched to waiting recipients by a national computer registry called the National Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN). This computer registry is operated by an organization known as the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), which is located in Richmond, Virginia.
  • To identify yourself as an organ donor, visit the Donate Life America website at and choose your state of residence to learn about the options in your area, which might include:
    • Joining your state’s online registry for donation, if one is available.
    • Declaring your intentions on your driver’s license.
    • Signing a donor card.
  • Signing a donor card, registry or driver’s license is a good first step in designating your wishes about donation, but letting your family or other loved one’s know about your decision is vitally important. That’s because family members are often asked to give consent for a loved one’s donation, so it’s important that they know your wishes.

Facts and Myths About Organ Transplant

Facts: Did You Know?

en español

More than 123,000 people in the United States are currently on the waiting list for a lifesaving organ transplant.

  • Another name is added to the national transplant waiting list every 12 minutes.
  • On average, 21 people die every day from the lack of available organs for transplant.
  • Seven percent of people on the waiting list—more than 6,500 each year—die before they are able to receive a transplant.
  • One deceased donor can save up to eight lives through organ donation and can save and enhance more than 100 lives through the lifesaving and healing gift of tissue donation.
  • Organ recipients are selected based primarily on medical need, location and compatibility.
  • Over 617,000 transplants have occurred in the U.S. since 1988.
  • Organs that can be donated after death are the heart, liver, kidneys, lungs, pancreas and small intestines. Tissues include corneas, skin, veins, heart valves, tendons, ligaments and bones.
  • The cornea is the most commonly transplanted tissue. More than 40,000 corneal transplants take place each year in the United States.
  • A healthy person can become a ‘living donor’ by donating a kidney, or a part of the liver, lung, intestine, blood or bone marrow.
  • More than 6,000 living donations occur each year. One in four donors is not biologically related to the recipient.
  • The buying and selling of human organs is not allowed for transplants in America, but it is allowed for research purposes.
  • In most countries, it is illegal to buy and sell human organs for transplants, but international black markets for organs are growing in response to the increased demand around the world. Learn more about Transplant Tourism.


Myths About Deceased Donation

There are certain things that can keep me from being an organ donor such as age, illness or physical defects.


Each person’s medical condition is evaluated at the time of their death to determine what organs and tissues are viable for donation. People living with chronic diseases or those who have a history of cancer or other serious diseases are still encouraged to join the donor registry.


If doctors know that I am registered to be an organ or tissue donor, they won’t work as hard to save my life.


The first priority of a medical professional is to save lives when sick or injured people come to the hospital. Organ and tissue donation isn’t even considered or discussed until after death is declared.

Typically, doctors and nurses involved in a person’s care before death are not involved in the recovery or transplantation of donated corneas, organs or tissues.


If you are rich or a celebrity, you can move up the waiting list more quickly.


Severity of illness, time spent waiting, blood type and match potential are the factors that determine your place on the waiting list. A patient’s income, race or social status are never taken into account in the allocation process.


After donating an organ or tissue, a closed casket funeral is the only option.


Organ procurement organizations treat each donor with the utmost respect and dignity, allowing a donor’s body to be viewed in an open casket funeral.


My religion doesn’t support organ and tissue donation.


Most major religions support organ and tissue donation. Typically, religions view organ and tissue donation as acts of charity and goodwill. Donor Alliance urges you to discuss organ and tissue donation with your spiritual advisor if you have concerns on this issue.


My family will be charged for donating my organs.


Costs associated with recovering and processing organs and tissues for transplant are never passed on to the donor family. The family may be expected to pay for medical expenses incurred before death is declared and for expenses involving funeral arrangements.

In Developing World, Cancer Is a Very Different Disease

Article NYT

In the United States the median age at which colon cancer strikes is 69 for men and 73 for women. In Chad the average life expectancy at birth is about 50. Children who survive childbirth — and then malnutrition and diarrhea — are likely to die of pneumonia, tuberculosis, influenzamalariaAIDS or even traffic accidents long before their cells accumulate the mutations that cause colon cancer.

In fact, cancers of any kind don’t make the top 15 causes of death in Chad — or in Somalia, the Central African Republic and other places where the average life span peaks in the low to mid-50s. Many people do die from cancer, and their numbers are multiplied by rapidly growing populations and a lack of medical care. But first come all those other threats.

How different this is from the United States, where oncologists are working to rid a 91-year-old former president of metastatic melanoma, one of the deadliest cancers. One of Jimmy Carter’s drugs, a new immunotherapy agent called Keytruda, has been priced at $12,500 a month, in addition to the cost of his surgery and treatment with computer-guided radiation beams.

Mr. Carter, a religious man, says he is prepared to meet his maker. But he is among the fortunate who first have the luxury of exhausting the most expensive remedies medicine has to offer.

So far the approach appears to be working, shrinking his brain tumors to invisibility. Should there be a setback, his doctors may have the option of combining Keytruda with other recently approved immune system therapies, the next line of defense. Last summer at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Dr. Leonard Saltz, chief of gastrointestinal oncology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, estimated that medical bills for these cocktails could run $300,000 a year.

That is for just one person. For those with the will and the resources, the war on cancer has come to mean pushing incrementally toward some imagined immortality, the ultimate right to life. There appears to be no limit to what we — society in the abstract — will agree to pay for extending long and well-lived lives.

Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. was envisioning more of these death-defying acts when, borrowing a metaphor, he recently called for a “moon shot” to end cancer — infusions of additional dollars that, judging from the past, would go largely toward research that helps older people become older.

Children with leukemia, lymphoma or osteosarcoma might also benefit, along with some younger adults and those just reaching their prime, like the vice president’s son, Beau Biden, who died this year from a brain tumor at age 46. But the median age of diagnosis for cancers of all kinds in this country is 66. Seventy-eight percent of cases are diagnosed in people 55 or older. Childhood cancer, among the most curable, remains rare.

In the developing world, cancer has a very different look, as illustrated in maps drawn by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Cancer Research.

The countries with the highest incidence, like the United States, Canada, Australia and those of Western Europe, are dark blue. With the exception of South Africa, almost all of the African continent is light blue or white. The map could serve double duty — as a pointer to places with the highest standards of living and hence the longest life spans.

But that is just part of the story. Cancers that arise in poorer countries are far less likely to be survived.

A disproportionately large number of these cases are caused by infectious agents. Look again at the international maps, and pick the ones showing the worldwide incidence of cervical cancer, which is brought on by infection with the human papilloma virus.

This map is almost a reverse image of the ones for colorectal cancer or breast cancer — the leading cancers of the richer realms. For cervical cancer, the dark blues of trouble are concentrated in places like Mali, while the wealthier countries, with lower rates, are rendered in white.

This is a cancer that could practically be wiped out everywhere by the HPV vaccine, and those efforts are underway in poorer regions. Infection is also a major factor in stomach cancer and liver cancer. An Apollo-scale moon shot aimed at all of these killers would save millions of people who still have much of their lives to come.

As improvements in economic development and public health move forward, the disparities are evening out, as described in an update this week by epidemiologists at the American Cancer Society. Life expectancy will slowly increase, and rising alongside will be the overall cancer rate.

Cancers of the poor will gradually give way to cancers of the more affluent. They will move up the list of leading killers, replacing the old diseases.

This is already happening in countries like India, where more people are becoming overweight and living less active lives — risk factors for malignancies of the colon and breast. Women who forestall or forgo childbearing are also at higher risk for breast and other gynecological cancers.

More people are also able to afford a steady supply of cigarettes — and to live for the additional decades it takes for the cancerous mutations to pile up. China has joined North America and Europe as a hotbed of lung cancer, and other countries seem determined to catch up.

Dr. Vincent T. DeVita Jr., the renowned American oncologist, titled his new book “The Death of Cancer,” envisioning a time “when we’ll be able to cure almost all cancers” with an ever-improving stream of engineered pharmaceuticals and other cutting-edge treatments yet to be discovered.

Maybe that will happen, if we can afford it. But there are so many lower-tech, lower-cost and ultimately more heroic cancer moon shots yet to be made — ones that would save younger lives in Africa and throughout the world.

George Johnson, New York Times

UNOS- United Network For Organ Sharing

How organ matching works

Understand the basic path to donation

When a patient is “added to the list,” a transplant hospital adds a patient’s medical information into UNOS’ computer system. When a deceased organ donor is identified, UNOS’ computer system generates a ranked list of transplant candidates, or “matches”, based on blood type, tissue type, medical urgency, waiting time, expected benefit, geography and other medical criteria.


  • You can be a donor at any age.
  • Celebrity or financial status are not factors in getting a transplant.
  • Donation is possible with many medical conditions.
  • All major religions approve of organ and tissue donation.
  • A national computer system and strict standards are in place to ensure ethical and fair distribution of organs.
  • A healthy person can become a living donor by donating a kidney, or a part of the liver, lung, intestine, blood or bone marrow.
  • Learn more organ donation facts.

How Tinder Is Recruiting Organ Donors


Thousands of people are awaiting transplants, and a two-week initiative in the U.K. aims to help.

Swipe right, save a life? That’s not usually quite the equation on Tinder, but over the next two weeks, the popular dating app is hooking up with the United Kingdom’s National Health Service to promote organ donation. Celebrities including Olympic gold medalists (Jade Jones) and actresses (Jamie Laing and Gemma Oaten) have put a logo for “The Wait” on their verified Tinder profiles. “The Wait” describes the 7,000 people on the organ transplant waiting list in the U.K. Users who swipe right on these profiles will receive a message that says: “If only it was that easy for those in need of a life-saving organ to find a match.”

“Tinder users regularly make the decision to swipe left or right wondering whether someone may be the person they are looking for,” Hermione Way, Tinder’s head of European communications, told BBC News. “While those swiping decisions are important and could be the first step to a successful relationship, we hope that the NHS profiles featuring Jamie, Jade and Gemma will encourage people to make and act upon a different decision too – to sign up as an organ donor.”

According to a recent NHS Organ Donation and Transplantation Activity report, the number of people donating organs after death has declined for the first time in 10 years – from 4,655 in 2013-14 to 4,431 in 2014-15.