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Facts and Stats

  • Every three days an individual in Ontario dies waiting for a life saving organ transplant.
  • $12 million could be saved in the healthcare system if organ donation increased by just 10%.
  • Everyone is a potential organ and tissue donor, regardless of their age. Ultimately, the ability to become an organ and tissue donor depends on several factors, including the health of the organs and tissues at the time of death.
  • Organs and tissues that can be donated include: the heart, liver, kidneys, pancreas, lungs, small bowel, stomach, corneas, bone, skin, cardiovascular tissue, the islet cells of the pancreas, and connective tissue.
  • Studies show that donating the organs and tissues of a loved one who has died can provide immediate comfort and long lasting consolation to family members in their grieving.
  • Living donors can donate a kidney and part of their liver.
  • You are more likely to need a transplant than to become a donor. Statistics indicate 100 Canadians in a million will need a transplant while currently only 15 in a million will ever be in a situation to be donors.
  • To be a donor, the patient must have suffered a neurological death* or determined suitable for donation after cardiac death**.
  • Improvements in technology and anti rejection medication continue to increase the success rate of transplantation.
  • When a donor organ becomes available, it is matched with a person who is waiting for that organ. The health, organ size and blood type of the potential recipient are factors in determining who will receive the organ. Factors such as gender, race, or financial status are not taken into account.
  • Each province has its own method for indicating your wishes about organ and tissue donation. It may be through your health card, your driver’s license or a provincial registry.
  • Your signature alone does not guarantee that your organs or tissues will be donated. Although a registry provides legal consent, doctors are hesitant to proceed with organ and tissue donation if family members have objections. Therefore, make your family members aware of your wishes.
  • All major religions support the concept of organ and tissue donation because it saves the lives of fellow human beings. Religious restrictions about treatment of the body after death may not apply if the purpose is to save another life. Consult with your religious leader.
  • The deceased donor is treated with dignity and respect when organ or tissue donation is carried out. An open casket funeral can still be held and no one will know that a donation has taken place, unless the family chooses to share that information.