Organ / Tissue Donation
You Can Offer the Gift of Life
Your decision to become an organ and tissue donor gives hope for a new life to those in need. Organ and tissue transplants offer people a new chance to live healthy, productive lives, and return to their families, friends, and communities. Transplantation provides hope to thousands of people with organ failure. In addition, transplanted tissue saves lives and offers hundreds of thousands of people active and renewed lives. But, transplantation requires the commitment of organ and tissue donors, and the need for donors is much greater than the number of people who actually donate.
In the event of your death, if you would like to be an organ and/or tissue donor, you may register your decision in the Illinois Organ/Tissue Donor Registry.
Statistics on Organ & Tissue Donation
- Currently, more than 120,000 men, women and children are awaiting organ transplants in the United States.
- In 2015, more than 8,000 donors made possible approximately 24,000 organ transplants in the United States.
- More than 1 million tissue transplants are done in the U.S. each year, and the surgical need for tissue is rising.
- In Illinois, more than 5,100 people are waiting for an organ transplant.
As a donor, you can save and enhance the lives of more than 25 people. Donation may include organs or tissue.
- Heart valves
How the Donation Process Works
Your commitment to donation will not interfere with your medical care. Organ and tissue donation becomes an option only after all lifesaving efforts have been made and death has been declared by a physician unrelated to the recovery and transplant process. Gift of Hope confirms authorization for donation and asks your family to participate in the process by providing your loved one’s medical and social history. Surgical procedures are used to recover donated organs and tissue. The donor is always treated with great care, respect and dignity.
Who Receives Donated Organs & Tissue
Organs are placed with waiting recipients based on objective information, including location, blood type, body size and tissue type matching through a national computer network operated by the United Network for Organ Sharing. Wealth, citizenship and celebrity status have no bearing on who receives organ transplants. Tissue is distributed based on patient need, availability and medical criteria.
Separating Myth From Facts About Donation
- Fact: People of all ages and medical histories can be potential donors.
- Fact: All major religions support organ and tissue donation as an unselfish act of charity.
- Fact: Tissue is needed to replace bone, tendons and ligaments lost to trauma, cancer and other diseases. Corneas are needed to restore sight. Skin grafts help burn patients heal and often mean the difference between life and death. Heart valves repair cardiac defects and damage.
- Fact: Donation should not delay or change funeral arrangements. An open casket funeral is possible.
- Fact: There is no cost to the donor’s family or estate for donation. The donor family pays only for medical expenses before death and for funeral expenses.
- Fact: In the United States, it is illegal to buy or sell organs and tissue for transplantation.
About Gift of Hope
Gift of Hope Organ and Tissue Donor Network is a not-for-profit organization that coordinates organ and tissue donation and educates the public about donation in Illinois and northwest Indiana. Our mission is to save and enhance the lives of as many people as possible through organ and tissue donation. Since 1986, it has saved the lives of more than 24,000 organ transplant recipients and improved the lives of hundreds of thousands of tissue transplant recipients.