Facts and Figures for Informed Decisions

Organ Donation Facts

Every 10 minutes, another person is added to the national organ transplant waiting list. By taking just a few minutes to register, one donor can potentially save eight lives through organ donation and improve the lives of 50 or more through tissue donation. There have been many medical technology advances but the demand for organ, eye and tissue donation still vastly exceeds the number of donors.

It is important that everyone learn enough about donation to make an informed choice regarding their own end-of-life wishes. To successfully become a donor, it is important to register your first-person authorization online or at the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles during the driver’s license and state ID process. You should also make your wishes known to those who are closest to you.

Approximately 113,000 people in the U.S. are waiting for a life-saving organ transplant. That is more than fills the stands at Williams-Brice Stadium or Death Valley on game day. Approximately 1,000 people are on the South Carolina organ transplant waiting list and nearly 90% of those on the South Carolina Transplant Waiting List are in need of a kidney.

The time on the waiting list depends on blood type and several other factors, but many patients in South Carolina can wait four years or more for a kidney transplant. Unfortunately, an average of 20 people will die each day in the United States before receiving the lifesaving transplant they need; 8,000 deaths occur every year in the U.S. because organs are not donated in time. Over 655,000 organ transplants have taken place since 1988.

The organs that can be transplanted include:

  • Liver, kidney, pancreas, kidney/pancreas (can be transplanted at the same time)
  • Heart, lung, heart/lung (can be transplanted at the same time)
  • Intestine
  • Vascularized composite allografts (VCAs), such as face and hand transplantation

Tissue Donation Facts

Donated tissues such as skin, bone and heart valves can dramatically improve the quality of life for recipients, and even potentially save lives. Each year, approximately 30,000 tissue donors provide life-saving and healing tissue for transplant. Approximately 1.5 million tissue transplants are performed each year and one tissue donor can restore health and heal the lives of more than 50 people. Most people can be potential tissue donors at the time of death.

Donated human tissue is used in many surgical applications, saving people’s lives and limbs everyday. Donated tissue can:

  • Save patients facing life-threatening burns
  • Allow athletes with torn ligaments or tendons to heal and regain strength
  • Restore hope and mobility to military men and women whose bones or joints have been injured in combat
  • Repair musculoskeletal structures, teeth, skin, and spinal components in many patients

Tissues that can be donated include:

  • Corneas – Restore sight
  • Tendons – Rebuild joints
  • Valves – Repair cardiac defects
  • Veins – Re-establish circulation
  • Skin – Heals burn patients
  • Bones – Prevent the need for amputation

Cornea Donation Facts

Cornea donation is necessary for the preservation and restoration of sight. The cornea is the clear dome-like window covering the front of the eye that allows the light to pass through to the retina, and enables us to see.


another person is added to the waiting list every 10 minutes


of patients waiting are in need of a kidney


People die each day waiting for an organ


one organ, eye and tissue donor can save and heal more than 75 lives

Become a Donor Today

In 30 short minutes, three people will be added to the national transplant list, where approximately 120,000 people in the U.S. and over 1,000 in South Carolina are waiting for a life-saving transplant - 22 of those people will die today before receiving one. A single donation can make an enormous difference, both to the donor’s family and the recipient.

Register Now

Share the hope for life by becoming an organ & tissue donor.

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