Women's Health USA 2007
Photographs of women's faces

Health Services Utilization

Organ Transplantation

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 Act Program.

1 2006 Data are from January 1–November 30, 2006.

2 2003 OPTN/SRTR Annual Report: Transplant Data 1992- 2002. HHS/HRSA/SPB/DOT; UNOS; URREA.


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Women's Health USA 2007 is not copyrighted. Readers are free to duplicate and use all or part of the information contained on this page. Suggested Citation: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, Women's Health USA 2007. Rockville, Maryland: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2007.