National Minority Donor Awareness Month: Frequently Asked Questions

August is National Donor Minority Awareness Month. Learn more about why it is important to understand the need for more people of minority communities to register as organ, eye and tissue donors.

 

Who can be a donor?

People of all ages and medical histories should consider themselves potential deceased donors. Your medical condition at the time of death will determine what organs and tissue can be donated.

 

Living donors should be in good overall physical and mental health and older than 18 years of age. Some medical conditions could prevent an individual from being a living donor. Transplant programs complete a full patient evaluation to protect both living donor and recipient health and safety. Learn more about living kidney and liver donation

 

Does registering as a donor change my patient care?

Doctors work hard to save every patient's life, but sometimes there is a complete and irreversible loss of brain function. The patient is declared clinically and legally dead. Only then is donation an option.

 

Does my religion support organ, eye and tissue donation?

All major religions support donation as a final act of compassion and generosity. 

 

Is there a cost to be an organ, eye and tissue donor?

There is no cost to the donor's family or estate for donation. The donor family pays only for medical expenses before death and costs associated with funeral arrangements.

 

Does my social and/or financial status play any part in whether or not I will receive an organ if I ever need one?

A national system matches available organs from the donor with people on the waiting list based on many factors, including blood type, body size, how sick they are, distance from donor hospital and time on the list. Race, income, gender, celebrity and social status are never considered.

 

Why should I register my decision to be a donor?

The vast majority of Americans support donation as an opportunity to give life and health to others. Unfortunately, many people overlook the important step of registering as a donor. Donors are often people who die suddenly and unexpectedly. Their families are then faced with making the decision at a time of shock and grief. Registering relieves your family of this burden.

 

Why is it important for people of every community to donate?

According to the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), transplants can be successful regardless of the race or ethnicity of the donor and recipient. The chance of longer-term survival may be greater if the donor and recipient are closely matched in terms of their shared genetic background.

 

People of African American/Black, Asian/Pacific Islander, Hispanic/Latinx, American Indian/Alaska Native and multiracial descent currently make up 60% of individuals on the national organ transplant waiting list. According to the National Kidney Foundation (NKF), African Americans/Blacks suffer from kidney failure at a significantly higher rate than Whites - four times higher. African Americans/Blacks represent 13.2 percent of the overall U.S. population and more than 35 percent of all patients in the U.S. receiving dialysis for kidney failure. These communities need more organ and tissue donors.