Between January 1 and November 30, 2006, 26,691
organ transplants occurred in the United States. In 2006,
the gender distribution of organ donors was nearly even
(6,993 males and 6,589 females), though most of the organs
donated by living people were from women (58.5 percent).
Since 1988, there have been 391,233 transplants.
The need for donated organs greatly exceeds
their availability, so waiting lists for organs are growing.
As of February 16, 2007, there were 94,692 people awaiting
a life-saving organ transplant. Females were 41.9 percent
of those patients, but made up only 37.3 percent of those
who received a transplant in 2006.1 Among women
waiting for an organ transplant, 46.5 percent were White,
29.6 percent were Black, and 16.1 percent were Hispanic.
The kidney was in highest demand, with 29,437 females awaiting
this organ as of February 16, 2007.
The number of organs donated remained
roughly static from 1990–2003. In 2003, the
donation community began to work together
through the Organ Donation Breakthrough
Collaborative and other grassroots efforts to
increase donation. In 2004, donations increased
by an unprecedented 12 percent over the previous
year, and in 2005 they increased by another
12 percent; in 2005–06, the number dropped
slightly but was still well above 2002 levels. One
of the challenges of organ donation is obtaining
consent from the donor family or legal surrogate.
Consent rates may vary due to religious perceptions,
poor communication between health care
providers and grieving families, perceived
inequities in the allocation system, and lack of
knowledge of the wishes of the deceased.2
The Organ Procurement and Transplantation
Network and the Scientific Registry of Transplant
Recipients are managed by HRSA’s Healthcare
Systems Bureau (HSB). Other HSB programs
include: the National Marrow Donor Program,
the National Cord Blood Stem Cell Bank, the
National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program,
and the Smallpox Emergency Personnel Protection