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Which Country Is the World Leader in Organ Donation?

Spain has a different approach to organ donation than most other countries. One of the main reasons why more people in Spain agree to be organ donors than anywhere else in the world is the country’s "opt-out" system, in which everyone is automatically registered as a donor unless they choose otherwise. This system has helped to make Spain the world leader in organ donation over the past 25 years.

Paying life forward:

  • In 2016, a record number of transplants were performed in Spain. A total of 4,818 organ transplants were done that year, including 2,994 kidney transplants and 281 heart transplants.

  • Some nations cap the age at which people can qualify to be donors, but Spain considers organ donation from people over the age of 65. In fact, 10 percent of Spanish donors are over 80 years old.

  • Spain begins looking into transplantation options after a donor’s circulation, heartbeat, and breathing have stopped -- rather than waiting until all brain functions cease.

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