Key Facts & Myths

Key Facts:

  • The average wait for a kidney transplant in the UK is 1,168 days. Meanwhile, those waiting for a liver can expect to wait around 142 days and the wait is around 253 days for a new heart or 412 days, on average, for lungs.
  • Around 10,000 people in the UK currently need an organ transplant. Every day, around three of them will die waiting.
  • Around 200 people are currently awaiting a transplant in Northern Ireland, while 15 die each year.
  • Since 1st April 2012, over 1,010 people have donated organs and around 2,590 people have received transplants.
  • 96% of us would accept an organ if we needed one, but only 31% of us have joined the NHS Organ Donor Register.
  • One donor can save or transform the lives of up to nine people.
  • 45% of families say no to donation because they don’t know what their loved one would have wanted. So tell your family you want to be an organ donor – don’t leave them to guess.
  • All of the UK´s major faiths including Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism, Islam and Sikhism support organ donation and transplantation. Anyone who has doubts as to whether their religion or faith allows them to donate is encouraged to seek advice from their local religious leader.


It has been reported that recipients sometimes take on characteristics of their donors. While NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) is aware of the suggestion that transplant recipients take on aspects of the personality of the organ donor, the organisation is not aware of any evidence to support it.

Stories include:

  • A man in Leicester claimed he gained a love of baking, shopping and dogs, an animal he previously did not like, after getting a kidney from his wife.
  • A woman from Lancashire claimed her literary tastes changed radically after a kidney transplant, swapping celebrity biographies for Crime and Punishment.
  • An American man was suddenly able to paint after receiving the heart of an artistic young man killed in a car crash.
From The Heart
200 waiting for organ donation in NI
As part of the From the Heart campaign, UTV has been looking at the issue of organ donation in Northern Ireland - where 200 people are waiting for a transplant - and hearing the stories of those whose lives have been saved and those still waiting.
Wee Oscar raises platelet awareness
Wee Oscar, the brave boy from Belfast who's battling cancer, is helping the Northern Ireland Blood Transfusion Service raise awareness about donating platelets.
UTV launches organ donation campaign
With 15 people dying in Northern Ireland each year while waiting for a transplant, UTV has launched a new campaign - From The Heart - to raise awareness of organ donation and the NHS Organ Donor Register.