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Race and Organ Donation

Gift of Life is committed to providing knowledge and resources to members of our region to make sure every member is informed about correct organ and tissue donation information. Learn more about organ donation, and how the multicultural community is affected by donation.

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Each year, Gift of Life Donor Program partners with Power 99 to promote organ and tissue donation awareness in Philadelphia.

Closing the Donation Gap

Although organs are not matched according to race/ethnicity, and people of different races frequently match one another, all individuals waiting for an organ transplant will have a better chance of receiving one if there are large numbers of donors from their racial/ethnic background. This is because compatible blood types and tissue markers—critical qualities for donor/recipient matching—are more likely to be found among members of the same ethnicity. A greater diversity of donors may potentially increase access to transplantation for everyone.

Multicultural patients make up more than half – 58% – of the national waiting list for a life-saving transplant.

 

Organ Donation among African Americans
  • African Americans represent 39% of people waiting for organ transplants in Gift of Life’s service region, which includes Delaware, the eastern half of Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey.
  • African Americans represent 14% of deceased donors and 12% of living donors to date (1987-present, based on electronically available data via OPTN).
  • Of the more than 1,997 African Americans waiting for transplants in Gift of Life’s service region, 93% are waiting for kidney transplants.
  • In the 25-44 year-old age group, the rate of African Americans who have kidney failure caused by high blood pressure is 20 times higher than Caucasians.

Organ Donation among Asians
  • There are more than 9,000 Asian candidates on the national transplant waiting list.
  • On the national transplant waiting list for kidneys, more than 8,000 candidates are Asian.
  • In 2017, 1,889 Asian transplant candidates received a life saving transplant

Organ Donation among Hispanics
  • Hispanics represent 20% of patients on the national transplant waiting list, most waiting for kidneys.
  • Hispanics represent 8% of people waiting for organ transplants in Gift of Life’s service region, which includes Delaware, the eastern half of Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey.
  • There are more than 22,700 Hispanics on the organ transplant waiting list.
  • Hispanics, like other minorities, are three times more likely than Caucasians to suffer from end stage renal disease and diabetes.

*All data based on OPTN data as of December 5, 2018.