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LifeSharers Recruits 10,000th Organ Donor

11-08-2007 02:16 PM CET | Health & Medicine

Press release from: LifeSharers

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Organ Donors Get Preferred Access to Organs through Innovative Network

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – November 8, 2007 – LifeSharers, the innovative organ donation network that helps people donate their organs to other organ donors, has attracted its 10,000th member. Membership in LifeSharers has grown by more than 53% in the last twelve months.


LifeSharers offers registered organ donors preferred access to donated organs.

LifeSharers members agree to donate their organs upon their death. They also agree to offer their organs first to other LifeSharers members, if any member is a suitable match, before offering them to non-members. In exchange, they get preferred access to the organs of other LifeSharers members. So, people who join LifeSharers increase their chances of getting a transplant should they ever need one.

"LifeSharers membership is a compelling investment in your future. It's free, and it could literally save your life,” says Bill Staton, Chairman of Staton Financial Advisors. “By joining LifeSharers you reduce the chance you'll die waiting if you ever need an organ transplant."

There are over 98,000 people on the transplant waiting list in the United States. More than half of them will die before they get a transplant.


LifeSharers helps correct an inequity in the organ allocation system, which gives about half of all organs to people who are not registered organ donors.

Katrina A. Bramstedt, Clinical Ethicist at California Pacific Medical Center, says "Signing up for organ donation is a social contract. In the case of organ scarcity it is appropriate to favor fellow organ donors over free riders. When it is time to allocate a scarce resource, it is fair to assign priority to people who are willing to both give and receive."

Only about 50% of adult Americans have agreed to donate their organs when they die, but just about 100% would agree to accept an organ transplant if they needed one to live. This is one of the biggest reasons there is such a large shortage of transplantable organs.

The organ shortage grows larger every year. Last year over 48,000 people were added to the national transplant waiting list every year, but only 29,000 people received transplants.


Every year about 8,000 Americans die because they couldn’t get an organ transplant, and every year Americans bury or cremate about 20,000 transplantable organs.

Professor Steve Calandrillo of the University of Washington Law School notes that “Thousands of people are dying needlessly every year -- not because life-saving organs don't exist, but because we don't incent people properly to make them available in the first place. LifeSharers is helping to fix that."


By giving registered organ donors preferred access to their organs, LifeSharers members create an incentive for non-donors to become donors.

“We offer people a great trade – if you’ll agree to donate your organs through LifeSharers after you die, we’ll increase your chances of getting a transplant should you ever need one to live,” says David Undis, Executive Director of LifeSharers. “This could literally save your life, since most people who need an organ transplant die before they get one.”

"Those who are willing to give should be the first to receive,” says Alexander Tabarrok, Associate Professor of Economics at George Mason University. “LifeSharers makes this idea a reality. If enough people join LifeSharers, we could even have a surplus of organs."


LifeSharers members use a process called directed donation to offer their organs first to other members. Directed donation as practiced by LifeSharers members is legal in all 50 states and under federal law.

LifeSharers membership is free and open to all at or by calling 1-888-ORGAN88. There is no age limit, and parents can enroll their minor children. No one is excluded due to any pre-existing medical condition.

LifeSharers members receive an organ donor card, letters to share with family members and doctors, and language to attach to their durable power of attorney for healthcare. Professor Gerry Beyer of Texas Tech University School of Law, an expert in wills and estate planning, helped design these materials.

David J. Undis, Executive Director
6509 Cornwall Drive
Nashville, TN 37205

LifeSharers is a 501(c)(3) non-profit network of organ donors. Membership in LifeSharers is free and open to all. LifeSharers does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, age, physical handicap, health status, marital status, or economic status.

LifeSharers members include doctors, nurses, bioethicists, teachers, students, members of the clergy, and members of our armed forces.

About 10% of LifeSharers members are minor children enrolled by their parents.

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