SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) — According to Donate Life America, more than 100,000 Americans are waiting for an organ transplant and many of those procedures can be helped by living donors.

According to the Health Resources and Services Administration, on average, roughly 6,000 living donations happen every year.

“There is a need for living donors,” said John Jorgeson with the Iowa Donor Network

Doug Lehman, founder of Doug’s Donors, said living donors are often someone the patient knows and there’s benefits to that. 

“While living donors is normally a family member or friend, it’s a better match. Where a deceased donor it can be marginal on the acceptance sometimes, but it’s a small percentage,” said Lehman.

“Through deceased donation only 3 out of 1,000 people that die are able to be a donor, so that’s not a very big percentage,” said Jorgeson.

A person on the transplant list can take three months before they find a donor, but Lehman said a living donor can take someone off the list before they’re even on it.

“A living donor you’re not waiting on the transplant list. They take the patient in the donor in and do the test to see if it’s a match. And again, it’s a better situation than waiting on the transplant list for somebody to pass away,” said Lehman.

Living donors can provide more than 70 different organs to those in need.

“Kidneys, and livers, and bone marrow is probably the most popular,” said Lehman.

Roughly 85% of patients on the transplant list are in need of a kidney.

“So, kidney is probably the greatest need and it’s the one we have two of and can live with one,” said Jorgeson.

According to Jorgeson, roughly 600 people in Iowa are in need of an organ transplant at this time.

“We’re not in the healthiest of lifestyles and so as people have more health issues that risk for kidney disease. And liver disease, and lung disease, and heart disease and so those things all drive the need,” said Jorgeson.

Jorgeson encourages people interested in becoming a living donor to talk with your doctor before making a final decision to sign up.