Why Multicultural Donors Are Needed

People of all ages, races, and ethnicities can save and enhance lives by donating their organs, eyes and tissues. Organ and tissue transplants are needed by people of every ethnicity. There are currently more than 116,000 patients on the U.S. waiting list, in need of an organ transplant. More than half of those patients are from minority populations.  

Hispanics, African Americans and Asians often suffer disproportionately from conditions such as diabetes, hypertension and heart disease, which increase the risk of organ failure. In some cases, race or ethnicity of a donor can make a difference when matching donated organs or tissues to an individual in need of a transplant. While people of different races and ethnicities frequently match one another, there is a higher likelihood of achieving a match if the donor and intended recipient share the same ethnic background. Critical factors in donor/recipient matching, such as blood types and tissue markers, are more likely to be found among members of the same ethnicity. Therefore, if donor registration among minority groups can be increased, there is potential to increase access to transplantation for everyone who desperately waits.