8 Helpful Facts About Minorities and Organ Donation - Celebrating National Minority Donor Awareness Week

Image: Donate Life America

Donate_Life_Donation_is_Color_Blind_National_Minority_Donor_AwarenessDid you know that August 1-7 is National Minority Donor Awareness Week?

Help celebrate! Learn the facts about minorities and donation, get answers to commonly asked questions about organ donation, and register to become an organ donor. 

1. National Minority Donor Awareness Week is about organ donation AND disease prevention.

While National Minority Donor Awareness Week was established to increase awareness around the need for more registered organ donors from minority groups and honor the diverse population of multicultural organ recipients, donors, and their families... it is also a time to increase awareness for healthy living habits and disease prevention in an effort to decrease the need for transplantation.

2. Currently, over 57% of waiting list candidates are minorities.

  • 30% African Americans
  • 18.7% Hispanics/Latinos
  • 7% Asians
  • 1.1% Native Americans and Alaska Natives
  • 0.5% Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders
  • 0.5% Multiracial

national_minoroity_donor_awareness_texansImage: Donate Life Texas

3. In 2013, over 40% of organ transplant recipients were minorities.

  • 20% African Americans
  • 14% Hispanics/Latinos
  • 5% Asian
  • 0.6% Native Americans and Alaska Natives
  • 0.4%Native Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders
  • 0.5% Multiracial

4. Organs are not matched according to race/ethnicity.

However, critical qualities (including blood type) for donor and recipient matching are more likely to be found among members of the same ethnicity and, transplant success rates increase when organs are matched between members of the same ethnic and racial group. Because matching blood type is necessary for transplants, the need for a diverse population of organ donors is critical.

All individuals on the waiting list potentially have an increased chance of receiving an organ transplant if the number of registered organ donors from their racial/ethnic background is higher.

5.  Minority groups are more likely than Caucasians to have certain chronic conditions that affect the kidney, heart, lung, pancreas and liver.

6. Many conditions that lead to the need for a transplant - such as diabetes and hypertension - are more prevalent among minority populations.

7. African Americans, Asians and Pacific Islanders, and Hispanics/Latinos are three times more likely than Caucasians to suffer from end-stage kidney disease.

8. Native Americans have the highest rate of diabetes out of all global populations.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can I be an organ donor if I have preexisting medical conditions?

Yes, you can still register as an organ, eye, and tissue donor with preexisting medical conditions. Determination of suitability to donate organs or tissue is based on a combination of factors. The medical staff that recovers the organs and/or the transplant team that reviews all of the data for transplantation take into account the donor's general health and the urgency of need of the recipient.

2. Is there a cost to become a registered organ donor?

No, and a donor family is never billed for expenses related to donation. Also, the donor family is not paid for any donations, as this would be a violation of federal and state laws.

3. Will the doctors still try and save me if I’m a registered organ donor?

Yes, every effort to save a patient’s life is exhausted before organ donation is considered.

4. How do I become a registered organ, eye, and tissue donor?

Find your state registry at, fill out basic information, and submit. Don’t forget to help increase organ donation awareness by telling your family and friends about your decision to register as an organ donor.

5. I think I'm a registered organ donor, but I'm not sure?

Even if you have the donor heart on your license, or a donor card, go ahead and make sure you're registered. Usually this means re-submitting or updating your information, and it usually takes less than 60 seconds. Ginger thought she was registered, only to find out she wasnt. Check your registration!

Click to Find Your State's Organ Donor Registry  

Check Out the Facts & Myths One-Sheet!

Tags: Organ Donation Information, Events & Promotions, Talking About Organ Donation, Facts & Myths About Organ Donation

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