"The only way to save more lives is to increase organ donation in other regions. Flying livers across the country from high donation regions to lower donation regions removes any incentives for those donation programs to get better.”

By simply reallocating where livers go without increasing donations, you only change where people die waiting for a liver. Areas which can transplant at a lower MELDS (medical severity score) only do so because of the generosity and spirit of donation in those communities."

- Dr. Timothy Schmitt, MD, director of transplantation at The University of Kansas Hospital.

Transplant programs work together to voice concerns

Doctors at The University of Kansas Hospital joined 45 liver transplant programs from Missouri, Florida, Texas, Colorado, Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia, Ohio and Michigan, among others, calling on the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) to delay consideration of a controversial proposal called “Share 35” to distribute livers nationally instead of regionally. 

The issue of liver reallocation has been under consideration for some time. On September 16, 2014, members of the Region 8 transplant community traveled to Chicago and participated in a public hearing before UNOS. The proposal is now up for public comment. Please make your voice heard. Comment here through October 15, 2016. 

Read and watch: Transplant stories from grateful recipients, donor families, physicians and experts.

Myths versus facts about liver allocations and transplantation.

Regions already share

The Midwest Transplant Network shared more than half of all donated organs with other regions and 34 percent of all livers with other regions last year, so the region’s excellent donation rate already helps other parts of the country. The Midwest Transplant Network, Gift of Life, donor families, Region 8 organ recipients and health care leaders are calling on the public to register to donate organs in all regions across the United States – especially the areas that have lower donation rates – and for UNOS to slow the process of adopting a new allocation proposal until it is thoroughly vetted including more data and unintended consequences.

Increasing organ donations

In the Midwest Region 8, organs are donated at a higher rate (82 percent) compared to anywhere else in the nation. Rather than taking organs from higher donation areas in the Midwest, South and Southeast, and giving to patients in large coastal cities that do not have higher donation rates such as New York (55 percent) and California (71 percent), doctors propose a different solution.

Gift of Life founder supports a different plan

Click to watch and listen to video.

Kim Harbur founded the leading national donor awareness program, Gift of Life, after her son Luke received a life-saving liver transplant. 

For two decades, Gift of Life - together with the Midwest Transplant Network and other community partners - now claims the highest donation rate in the nation.

Best solution: increased donation

Click to watch video.

The best solution to liver donation shortages is to increase efforts to educate and encourage all Americans to become organ donors. More available organs means more lives saved in all parts of the country.

In this video, the Gift of Life and Midwest Transplant Network discuss the secret to increasing organ donation through "informed generosity."

Transporting more livers is not the answer

Click to watch video.

When Dan Lowe received his first liver transplant at age 36 it failed because the organ became infected during transport. 

Lowe is concerned that proposed changes to liver allocation policy will hurt patients on waiting lists more than it could ever help. He believes that efforts to increase donation are the real answer.