Help Keep Love Alive
Living Donations Save Children's Lives
In 2018, of the approximately 115,000 people who were on the waiting list for an organ transplant, nearly 2,000 were children. Each year, up to 100 children may die waiting for organs. But, parents and other adults can help save the lives of over 50 percent of those on the waiting list through living donation.
What is Living Donation?
Living donations are one of the most common needs for many procedures, including organ transplants.
You’ve probably heard of the most common living donation, blood. Many of us have donated blood, often on a regular basis. Donating blood provides red blood cells, white blood cells, plasma, and platelets potentially saving three lives with each donation.
But you may not know that living donors can also donate organs that can help save lives. Living donors may give one of their kidneys, a lobe of a lung, or a portion of the liver, as well as blood stem cells from the umbilical cord and peripheral blood stem cells through bone marrow. Donations could result in a child receiving a kidney or partial organs such as a piece of a liver.
Many of the children on the waiting list need a kidney that can be donated by a living donor. Living kidney donations now exceed deceased donations for pediatric transplantation, and research shows that living donors provide the best results for children undergoing kidney transplantation.
- Most infants under the age of 12 months are waiting for the donation of a liver.
- Most small children ages one to 10 primarily need the donation of a kidney or liver, and the highest death rates are for children under five years old when compared to other age ranges.
- Most older children ages 11 to 17 are primarily waiting for the donation of a kidney, and the second most common organ needed is a liver.
The gift of life from a living donor could greatly impact the number of successful transplants. Every 10 minutes a child or adult is added to the national transplant waiting list and approximately 95 transplants take place each day in the U.S. Living donors could help in many of these cases. Donors are typically adult family members or friends, and rarely another child such as a twin or other sibling, but non-family members can be matches, too.
Talk about organ donation as part of your family’s healthcare discussions. Sharing the real facts and many options for organ donation can help parents and children decide to keep love alive and pay it forward to save a child’s life!
Contact your local transplant hospital for more information on how to become a living donor.