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U.S. Government Information on Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation
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External Web Site Policy Go to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Website Give the Gift of Life
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Allocation—The process of determining how organs are distributed.

Brain Death—Brain death occurs when the brain is totally and irreversibly non-functional. Brain death is caused by not enough blood supply of oxygen which causes the brain cells to die.

Candidate—A patient who has been placed on the National Waiting List for solid organ transplantation.

> Find Out More Terms and Topics


Right now, there are more than enough people waiting for an organ to fill a large football stadium twice over!

> Recipient Disparity Graph (PDF - 56KB)

Statistics & Facts for People Over 50

More than 99 million individuals in the U.S. are 50 years of age and over. If the majority of people in this age group signed up to be organ donors, imagine how many more lives could be saved!

People of all ages can sign up to be donors. In their 50s … 60s … even into their 70s and older. And, people over 50 can be transplant recipients as well.

Here are some statistics and facts about organ donation for people over 50:

  • Your age doesn’t make you ineligible to sign up, nor do you have to be in perfect health. Your ability to donate is determined at the time of death.
  • Organ and tissue transplants are needed by people in every corner of America. People of all ages, infants to grandparents, are on the national transplant waiting list.
  • Two thirds of the individuals waiting for an organ transplant in 2014 were 50 years old or older. That year 2,371 deceased donors were between 50–64 years of age. Six hundred and fourteen deceased donors were 65 or older.
  • In 2014, 18,182 of the 29,532—or 61.6%—of the people transplanted were 50+.
  • According to the 2005 National Survey of Organ and Tissue Donation Attitudes and Behaviors, conducted by The Gallup Organization, 20% of people over 65 years of age mistakenly think they are too old to donate an organ while 12% believe they are too old to receive one.
  • As of May 2015, according to OPTN, there are 55,282 people between 50 and 64 years old on the national waiting list and 25,908 people over 65 years old on the national waiting list.

> More about people over age 50 and organ donation


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