The national transplant system is working

2020 sets all-time high for most lives saved by deceased organ donors

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The U.S. has the highest-performing organ donation and transplant system in the world, even in the midst of a global pandemic. We have more organ donors and more annual transplants and we save more lives through organ donation than any other country.*

In other parts of the world, transplant rates have fallen significantly amid the spread of COVID-19. Despite a 50% drop in deceased donor transplantation early in the pandemic, the U.S. system proved its strength and resilience by recovering quickly and continuing to outperform itself.

Second highest annual total

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More than 39,000

lives saved through transplant in 2020

An all-time high

More than 33,000

life-saving transplants from deceased donors in 2020


1,000 more

deceased donor transplants

performed in 2020 than in 2019

34 organ procurement organizations

set all-time organ donation records in 2020

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consecutive record year for deceased donation

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increase in deceased donors over 2019


increase in organ donation from deceased donors over the last five years

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More than 7,300

living donor transplants in 2019

The number of living donor transplants performed in 2020 was significantly affected by the pandemic, dropping by 22% due to patient safety concerns.

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more transplants performed than five years ago

Save even more lives

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Learn about a five-part package of reforms UNOS is proposing to improve the U.S. organ donation and transplant system

Continuous improvement

As good as the U.S. organ transplantation system is, it needs to be even better to be able to serve the more than 100,000 people waiting for organs at any given time. UNOS is committed to driving continuous improvement to serve those patients and promote an ongoing increase in organ donation and transplants.

*Global Observatory of Donation and Transplantation, Global Data

Numbers based on OPTN data as of Jan. 11, 2020. Data subject to change based on future data submission or correction.

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