Organ donation: most are willing to give, so why is there a donor shortage?

Medical News Today | Yvette Brazier

Progress in the field of transplantation continues apace. From infants to the elderly, from heart valves to faces, donors and surgeons are transforming lives.

Just last month, the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, MD, announced that the first organ transplants from HIV-positive donors to HIV-positive recipients would begin soon, following a change in the law that was instigated by the University's associate professor of surgery Dr. Dorry Segev.

There is even talk of a future head transplant, as previously reported by Medical News Today.

From 1988-2015, 653,108 transplants took place in the US. Success rates continue to increase, giving recipients up to 25 years or more of quality life.

Unfortunately, there are not enough organs to meet the needs; although the community is willing, there are too few donors in a position to give.

Strong support for donation in US

In a comparison against European rankings in 2011, the US ranked third among 13 European nations in terms of organ donation from the deceased, with 26.3 deceased donors per million population. Only the Spanish, at 34.1, and the Portuguese, at 26.7, donate more.

The 2012 National Survey of Organ Donation Attitudes and Behavior reflected "high and sustained support for the donation of organs for transplant" among US adults, with 94.9% in favor of donation. Continue reading