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The Organ Donor Register
Last year 2,700 patients – both old and young - received life-saving transplants. These transplants are sometimes the only treatment available for those suffering from disease or failure of a major organ. Nearly everyone would take an organ if they needed one but only 31% of us have joined the register.
The number of people who can benefit from a transplant after an injury or surgery is expected to rise thanks to scientific advances. The kidneys, heart, liver, lungs, pancreas and small bowel can currently be transplanted. Body tissue such as corneas, skin, bone, tendons, cartilage and heart valves can also be used, to restore sight, reconstruct limbs and graft skin. However, the availability of tissue and organs depends on donor-numbers.
Already more than 10,000 people in the UK need a transplant and of these, 1000 each year - that's three a day - will die because there is a shortage of organs available.
Part of the reason for the shortage of organs is that they have to be transplanted very soon after someone has died and this is only possible in a small number of circumstances. Another major reason for the shortage is that many people have not recorded their wishes about donation.
The Organ Donor Register records people’s agreement to the use of their organs and tissue for transplantation after their death. To find out more about organ donation and to read stories from donor families and patients, visit the NHS Blood and Transplant website.