Whenever a person’s life is lost, there’s an opportunity for lives to be saved — if that person was a registered organ and tissue donor.

Heather Butterfield, spokeswoman for the Iowa Donor Network, says their final figures are in for 2022, during which she says many hundreds of lives were transformed by generous gifts from donors. “In 2022, we had 115 deceased organ donors in the state of Iowa that generously gave 347 organs for transplant,” Butterfield says. “Additionally, we have 979 tissue donors and every single tissue donor has the opportunity to heal and enhance the lives of 50 to 300 people.”

Since 2018, she says the state’s donor network has experienced a 62% increase in the number of organ donors as well as a 40% rise in the number of organs transplanted. “There are more Iowans registering as organ and tissue donors,” Butterfield says. “We’re also seeing more opportunities with advancements in medicine and healthcare and in the organ donation field. There’s just a greater opportunity for people to donate.”

She says the Iowa Donor Network coordinates with hospitals, transplant centers, EMS providers, medical examiners, and other healthcare partners to maximize donation opportunities.  “Anyone of any age can register to be a donor here in the state of Iowa,” Butterfield says. “Of course, the most common way is at the DMV, but if you check your license and you don’t have the word DONOR on the front, you can visit our website, IowaDonorNetwork.org. It takes less than three minutes and you can register to save lives.”

Still, the transplant wait list is long. She says there are more than 105,000 people nationwide in need of a life-saving organ transplant, including 625 Iowans.