Living Donation

More than 100,000 people in the nation are waiting for a lifesaving transplant. Many face a lengthy wait for an available organ. On average, 22 people die each day while waiting. Sadly, each year only a third of the patients on the national waiting list receive a transplant. The limited supply of organs from deceased donors cannot meet the growing number of patients who are added to the waiting list each day.

Advancements in medical science make it possible for a person who is healthy to safely donate certain organs while still alive. Relatives, friends and even individuals who wish to remain anonymous decide to volunteer as living donors. In fact, more than 6,500 transplants in the U.S. were made possible in 2021 by living donors. Of those, 125 occurred in Wisconsin. Today, 59% of living donors were not biologically related to the recipient.

A living organ donor can donate a kidney, a segment of their liver or bone marrow. With 82% awaiting a kidney transplant and 11% awaiting a liver transplant, living donation provides hope that their wait will not be long.

Living donation must be considered personally and discussed directly with a transplant center, and is not a part of your registration to be a donor. It is important to register as an organ, eye and tissue donor at the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) or at When you make this decision to become a donor, you are choosing to donate your organs and tissues after you die.

If you are considering living donation, it is critical to gather as much information as possible from various sources. Donate Life Wisconsin and other organizations have many resources to help you make an informed decision that is right for you.

Living donors can provide a valuable lifeline to each man, woman and child who is waiting for a transplant.

Living donor Karon Sandberg shares how she saved her friend Mike’s life by donating her kidney.


Living donor transplant recipient, Bill McKenzie, shares how a living donor and friend gave him a second chance at life.