New organ donation records were set in 2019 for the tenth consecutive year in the United States.
Health care teams across the country performed nearly 40,000 transplants from both deceased and living organ donors. This marks an 8.7% increase over 2018.
One of the big drivers remains the Department of Motor Vehicles. The DMV is the primary source for state donor registration by providing people the opportunity to easily register to be a donor and have their intentions indicated on their driver’s license.
The unprecedented growth in organ donation is “growth that has made the U.S. donation system the world’s leader in lifesaving organ transplant rate,” said Tom Mone, chief executive officer of OneLegacy, the not-for-profit organ procurement organization serving seven Southern California counties.
He called California the nation’s largest registry, which has grown to 16.8 million registered donors and has helped grow US registered-donors to 156 million.
Mone calls the growth in people registering to be a donor is a “wonderful demonstration of the generosity of all of those who help to make the gift of life possible.”
The 10 years of growth in organ donation has, for the first time ever, reduced the national transplant waitlist from more than 120,000 to under 109,000.
During pandemic transplants are still saving lives
This year, according to The United Network for Organ Sharing, donations plummeted at the outset of the pandemic, but by May transplants nationwide began to increase again and numbers reached close to pre-pandemic levels, they said in June.
Their data which records every organ transplant in the US shows the rate is steady and in line with 2019.
“Our thanks go out as well to donor hospitals and their staff who despite the current pandemic have been incredible in continuing to recognize the importance of enabling donation and in fulfilling the wishes of the donor patient.”
Mone said that it reflects an increased understanding that “donation is really about life, not death, as the act of donation leaves a legacy of life” by saving and healing the lives of strangers and friends.
You can help save a life by registering to be an organ donor at the National Donate Life Registry, which ensures your donor registration travels with you, no matter where you live or move across the U.S.