The Importance of Organ & Tissue Donation

Organ transplantation gives thousands of children and adults each year a renewed chance at living full and active lives. However, the need for organs and tissue outweighs their availability.

Committing to be an organ donor is a generous decision that can save the lives of up to eight individuals, and even more if a donor can give corneas and tissue. Almost anyone, regardless of age, race or gender, can become an organ and tissue donor, and there are no costs to the person’s family or estate.

Below are some basic facts about the need for organ donations and transplantations:

  • Waiting list candidates as of February 2017: 118,511 
  • U.S. Transplants, January - December 2016: 33,597
  • U.S. Organ Donors, January - December 2016: 15,945

(Source: United Network for Organ Sharing)

In 1964, Lurie Children’s, known at the time as Children’s Memorial Hospital, performed its first transplant ever – a kidney transplant. Since then, the program has expanded to include heart, liver and intestinal transplants, and the number of transplants performed totals more than 1200. In 2014, we performed 22 heart transplants, which is the highest yearly volume in our history, and the second highest volume in the U.S. for pediatric heart transplants.

We wouldn’t be able to perform these transplants without commitments from donors. Please sign up to be an organ donor or reaffirm your decision today by visiting