Intermountain Health encourages everyone to be a donor during National Donate Life Month

The United States surpassed the historic milestone of 1 million transplants from both living and deceased donors last year. Now, Intermountain Health is doing its part to help the U.S. achieve the next million.

April is National Donate Life Month, which brings attention to organ, eye, and tissue donation and transplantation and honors those who have saved lives through the gift of organ donation.

At this time, it’s a good reminder to share with your family your decision to be a donor, check the organ donor box when you renew your driver’s license, and consider the healing gift of sharing a living organ through the gift of transplantation.

Across the country, 104,000 people are currently on the transplant list, waiting for a kidney, liver, pancreas, heart or lungs. Every nine minutes another person is added to the wait list.

Intermountain Health is a premier organ transplant provider in the Intermountain West, providing heart, kidney, liver, pancreas and bone marrow transplants to people in need across the region. Nearly 6,000 living donations take place each year. That’s about four out of every 10 donations.

Intermountain performs living kidney and liver donor transplants to patients, helping reduce the amount of time they spend waiting for an organ.

Living Kidney Donation

Living kidney donations saves thousands a lives each year. Since the body can perform with just one kidney, it is the most commonly transplanted organ from a living donor. It’s also the best option for people who need a new kidney, it’s safe, and donors don’t have to be related to the recipient.

Five key benefits for participating in a living donor transplant include:

  1. Every living donor transplant that occurs removes one person from the transplant waiting list and ensures that the next person on the list won’t have to wait as long for a deceased donor transplant
  2. Living donor kidneys tend to have greater longevity than those transplanted from a deceased donor
  3. Surgery can be scheduled in advanced
  4. Patients can get a living donor kidney transplant before starting dialysis
  5. Patients spending less time on dialysis means better health

“On average, a living kidney transplant doubles the life expectancy of the recipient,” said Donald Morris, MD, nephrologist and Intermountain Health’s kidney transplant medical director. “It also greatly improves the quality of life while decreasing their overall health costs.”

National Kidney Registry

Intermountain’s Transplant Services at Intermountain Medical Center participates in a national registry that helps get the best optimally matched organ donors and recipients across the nation.

The National Kidney Registry (NKR) is a unique nationwide organ donor exchange program that facilitates paired exchanges, a process in which an organ donor donates their kidney to a recipient other than their loved one in exchange for a compatible kidney for their friend or loved one.

Donate a Kidney or a Liver – Save a Live

To sign up to become a living donor go to: www.IntermountainHealthcare.org/DonateLife

Don’t forget to share with your family your decision to share the gift of life. And in Utah, don’t forget to check the organ donation box when you renew your license or go to the Yes Utah! website to register today.

About Intermountain Health

Headquartered in Utah with locations in seven states and additional operations across the western U.S., www.intermountainhealth.org is a nonprofit system of 33 hospitals, 385 clinics, medical groups with some 3,900 employed physicians and advanced care providers, a health plans division called SelectHealth with more than one million members, and other health services. Helping people live the healthiest lives possible, Intermountain is committed to improving community health and is widely recognized as a leader in transforming healthcare by using evidence-based best practices to consistently deliver high-quality outcomes at sustainable costs. For more information or updates, see https://intermountainhealthcare.org/news.