You can save lives by becoming an organ, tissue & eye donor
Becoming an organ, tissue or eye donor is an incredible and noble gift because you can give someone a second chance at life. The mission of the Wisconsin Donor Network and Wisconsin Tissue Bank is to serve potential organ, tissue and eye donor families. By fulfilling this mission, we make life-saving transplantation possible to more patients every year.
We’ve created several organ and tissue donor resources that will help you:


Why organ and tissue donation matters
Organ and tissue donation saves and improves many lives every year. If more people donated organs and tissue, more lives could be impacted. Below are facts that illustrate just how important it is to register to become an organ, tissue and eye donor at the Wisconsin Donor Registry.
The demand is far greater than the supply.
• There are more than 123,000 people in the U.S. on the waiting list for organ transplants.
• Another person is added to the organ waiting list every 10 minutes.
• In the United States, 21 people die every day while waiting for an organ transplant.
Despite the fact that the public supports organ and tissue donation, there is still a tremendous shortage of organs and tissues.
  • Most of the U.S. population supports organ and tissue donation, including strong support from health care professionals and virtually all organized religions. Yet, far too few people have actually joined a registry or discussed the topic of donation with their families.
  • Of all the deaths in the United States, only a 2% percentage result in organ donation. Only about half of those individuals actually donate. If everyone who could donate did so, the waiting list for transplants would be greatly reduced.


The high success rates of transplantation make the shortage of organs and tissues all the more tragic.
Transplant survival rates continue to increase. The survival rates for transplants are approximately:
  • 95% for kidney recipients
  • 85% for liver and heart recipients
  • 75% for lung recipients

What can you do?

For the most current donation statistics, including how many people are waiting for a life-saving organ transplant nationally and in Wisconsin, visit the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS). (Select "Data" then "Data Collection" to view statistics.)

Enroll in Wisconsin’s organ, tissue and eye donor registry today!
Wisconsin launched a web-based, online Donor Registry, making it easier than ever for individuals to authorize organ, tissue and eye donation. The Registry, launched by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services in cooperation with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, will help reduce the number of children and adults who are waiting for a lifesaving or life-changing transplant.
Who is in need? 
More than 2,600 people are on waiting lists for organ transplants in Wisconsin. Hundreds are waiting for cornea transplants to restore their sight. Thousands more need a transplant of bone or soft tissue to have the opportunity to live without pain.
Who needs to register?
EVERYONE who wishes to be an organ, tissue and eye donor should register. This includes people with an orange donor dot on their license or state I.D.
How do I register? 
To access the Registry, visit the Wisconsin Donor Registry. Anyone older than 15 ½ years of age can register to be an organ or tissue donor.
  • The online tool is easy to use and takes only minutes to complete.
  • The Registry is secure and confidential. You may add or remove your name from the Registry at any time.
  • The Registry ensures your decision to be a donor is honored. Adding your name to the Registry makes a legal record of anatomical gift and authorizes donation.

Communicating your wishes about being a donor
No one likes to think about, much less talk about, dying. It’s not an easy subject to bring up with your family and loved ones. But it’s so important to let them know about your choice to save lives through organ and tissue donation. If something unexpected happens, they’ll have the peace of mind that comes from knowing your wishes.

It is important that your family understands your decision to donate. Have this conversation on a normal day, any day, today!

Anyone is a potential donor
Regardless of age, race or medical history, advances in technology now allow more people than ever to be donors, including older adults and those with previous medical conditions. At the time of death, medical professionals will evaluate whether an individual’s organs and tissues can be transplanted. Medical eligibility depends on many factors and must be determined after the donor’s death. Every donor is thoroughly screened and tested before donation can take place. This screening includes comprehensive medical and social histories, including high-risk behaviors for transmissible diseases that automatically eliminate any possibility of donation. If you believe in donation, say yes.

It’s so important for more African Americans to joinHundreds of African Americans in Milwaukee and throughout Wisconsin are desperately waiting for organ transplant.
If more African Americans donate, more African Americans will live. BloodCenter of Wisconsin is committed to helping fill the need by giving people of diverse ethnic backgrounds all the facts about organ donation so they can more fully understand the need and make informed decisions.

Why do African Americans need organ donation more than other races?
There are several reasons why it’s so important that more African Americans need to become organ donors:
  • African Americans are at a higher risk for many illnesses, such as high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease, that can lead to the need for an organ transplant.
  • African Americans suffer from kidney failure more than people from other ethnic backgrounds. As a result, more African Americans need dialysis (a kidney machine) and kidney transplants.
  • About 35% of patients awaiting kidney transplants in the U.S. are African American, but only 12% of the U.S. population is African American.
  • Transplant success rates increase when organs are matched between members of the same ethnic background.

These statistics and others relating to minorities and donation can be found at: United Network for Organ Sharing:
Why don’t African Americans donate organs as often as people from other ethnic backgrounds?
There are several reasons why African Americans can be hesitant to donate organs, including:
  • Lack of donation and transplant awareness
  • Religious myths and misperceptions
  • Distrust of the medical community
  • Fear of premature death
  • Racism

As an African American, what can you do to help save lives?

Giving to Research
To make new discoveries, it takes knowledge, skill, passion and you.
Learn more
BCW Impact
BloodCenter impacts patients every day through our commitment to discovery, diagnosis, treatment and cure. Find out how, together with your support, we give hope to others in need.

Hear the story