Organ Donation: Sign Up to Save Lives

A stock photo of a heart trinket being held in hands to promote organ donation

Organ transplantation is one of the great advances in modern medicine. 

Organ transplants have played a role in saving the lives of thousands of individuals, many of whom would not have survived their injuries or illnesses just a generation before.

Unfortunately, the need for organ donors is much greater than the number of people who actually donate. 

Every day in the United States, 21 people die waiting for an organ and more than 100,000 men, women and children await life-saving organ transplants. 

But each of us can help: every donor can save approximately eight lives and can enhance more than 75 lives through the gift of organ donation.

What is involved in organ donation?

The process of organ donation and transplantation involves removing an organ from one person (the donor) and surgically placing it in a recipient whose organ has failed (or is rapidly failing). 

Organs that can be donated include the liver, kidney, pancreas, and heart. 

Corneas and tissue can be donated as well, further enhancing the lives of many potential recipients.

The life-changing role of donation

Organ donation is an opportunity to help others, and can be life-changing for the recipient: in many cases, a recipient will not survive without a donated organ.

A donated kidney can remove the need for dialysis, while donated corneas can help restore an individual’s sight.

Regardless of the type, organ donation plays a crucial role in improving the lives of individuals in need.

In addition, some organ donations are less expensive than a lifetime of treatment, which can have a powerful impact on the lives of recipients and their families.

The challenges of organ donation

It goes without saying that discussing organ donation with your loved ones can be difficult, as no one wants to think about a loved one passing away.

(For the sake of clarity, while there are many instances of “living donors,” conversations about becoming an organ donor usually involve an individual donating organs or tissue after death.)

However, having an honest conversation about organ donation with your loved ones is vitally important to making sure that any of your donation wishes are honored.

For some, organ donation can be a source of great comfort during an emotionally challenging time, knowing that their loved one’s donation helped save or enhance someone else’s life.

Becoming an organ donor   

Nearly all individuals are eligible to be organ and tissue donors.

There is no age limit for donation, and most religions are accepting of organ donation.

If you choose to register as an organ donor, you should inform your family of your wishes to ensure that they’re not caught off guard in the future.

Every organ donation registration counts – by choosing to become an organ donor, you can save your loved ones from having to make this difficult decision and can save lives as well.

Learn more and register to become an organ donor by visiting

This post was written by South Shore Health’s Trauma Program Injury Prevention Team. Learn more about our Injury Prevention Program.