In just the first half of 2021, 21,061 organ transplants have been performed in the U.S. according to data from United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), which serves as the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network under federal contract.
Organ donation from deceased donors is up 15% over last year. There were 900 more deceased donors — people who provided one or more organs to save and enhance the lives of others — between January 1 and June 30 of 2021 than there were during the same period in 2020. The drop in donors caused by the pandemic beginning in the middle of March last year was offset enough by high numbers early in the year that there were still 242 more donors in the first half of 2020 than in the first half of 2019.
Organ transplants from deceased donors are also up — by 11%. A total of 17,821 deceased donor transplants were performed in the U.S. in the first half of 2021 compared to 15,933 in the first six months of last year. 2020 marked the 10th consecutive record breaking year for organ donation from deceased donors and the 8th in a row for deceased donor transplants.
“This significant increase in donation and transplantation as we continue to fight COVID as a nation is a bright spot that inspires hope. At the same time it’s not enough because so many patients continue to wait. We must renew our commitment to work together to improve the best transplant system in the world by continuing to innovate and promote donation,” said Matthew Cooper, M.D., president of the UNOS Board of Directors. “In doing so we honor the gift of every donor and donor family whose lifesaving decisions make transplantation possible.”
As of this morning 106,669 men, women and children are on the waiting list for a transplant, which is the lowest it has been since 2009. The list topped 124,000 at its height in 2014.
“Every one of us has the potential to save multiple lives by registering to be an organ, tissue and eye donor,” Cooper said.
The national transplant system is working. 2020 sets all-time high for most lives saved by deceased organ donors.