Did you know?
- You are more likely to need a
transplant than become a donor.
- A donor can donate a heart, lungs, two
kidneys, pancreas, liver and small bowel
and can restore the sight of two people by
donating their corneas.
- Donors can also give bone and tissue
such as skin, heart valves and tendons.
Skin grafts have helped people with severe
burns and bone is used in orthopaedic
- The majority of relatives agree to
organ donation and with the introduction of
the Human Tissue Acts on 1 September 2006,
which make the wishes of the donor
paramount, it is hoped that more families
will be encouraged to respect their loved
ones wishes. It is important that you
discuss organ and tissue donation with the
people closest to you so that, if the time
ever comes, they will find it easier to
confirm your wishes to NHS professionals.
- You can make a permanent record of your
wishes by joining the NHS Organ Donor
- Most organ donations come from people
who have died while on a ventilator in a
hospital intensive care unit. Organs,
particularly hearts and lungs, deteriorate
very quickly without an oxygen supply and
the ventilator is able to keep blood and
oxygen circulating after death.
- Traditionally organ donors have come
from two groups: road accident and brain
haemorrhage patients. Improved road safety
and medical intervention mean that fewer
people in both groups are dying.
- The age of people who have donated
organs after their death has changed in the
past decade with more aged over 50 and
fewer younger donors. Older donors are less
likely to be able to donate as many of
their organs as younger people, as some
organs may become less suitable for
transplantation as people age. But organs
from people in their 70s and 80s can be
- The number of people needing a
transplant is expected to rise steeply over
the next decade due to an ageing
population, an increase in kidney failure
and scientific advances resulting in more
people being suitable for a transplant.
- Black people are three times as likely
as the general population to develop kidney
- The need for organs in the Asian
community is three to four times higher
than that of the white community. This is
because conditions such as diabetes and
heart disease - that can result in organ
failure - occur more often in the Asian
- The number of living donor kidney
transplants has more than quadrupled in the
last 10 years and now account for one in
nearly three of all kidney transplants.
- The oldest solid organ donor ever
recorded in the UK was 84.
- The oldest recorded cornea donor was
- The oldest recorded recipient of an
organ in the UK was an 85-year-old kidney
- The oldest recipient of a cornea
transplant in the UK was 104.
- Surgical techniques, such as splitting
livers, have meant that a donor can help
more patients than ever before.
- Repeated surveys show that the majority
of the public support organ donation. The
last survey conducted in 2003 for UK
Transplant showed that 90% of people
support organ donation.
- All the major religions support organ
donation and many actively promote it. Link
to Factsheet 3 Religious perspectives
- 30% of people on the NHS Organ Donor
Register are aged between 16 and 25 when
they join. A further 24% are aged between
26 and 35.9% are 65 or over when they join.
More women (54%) than men (46%) have signed
up on the NHS Organ Donor Register.