AOPO Report: OPOs Quickly Advancing Towards Goal of 50,000 Annual Organ Transplants in 2026

We are on our way to 50K! The Association of Organ Procurement Organizations (AOPO) released a report today demonstrating significant progress towards our goal to achieve 50,000 annual organ transplants in 2026. AOPO set the goal in February 2021 to advance the work of organ procurement organizations (OPOs), aiming to expand collaboration among stakeholders, create a more equitable system, maximize organ utilization, and drive innovation and research.

AOPO and our OPO community are dedicated and steadfast in our mission to save more lives through organ donation and transplantation year after year. We have witnessed continued growth since the start of this comprehensive initiative to increase donation and transplantation rates across the nation.

AOPO’s 50,000 goal complements and exceeds a goal set by the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services in 2020 to reach 41,000 annual transplants by the end of 2026. AOPO is proud that our members reached 39,860 annual organs transplanted in 2022, nearly achieving the CMS standard five years in advance. Current projections show that OPOs are on a path to recover and successfully transplant 50,000 organs annually in 2026.

The AOPO 50,000 Report found that collaborative efforts have contributed to the upward trend in transplantation. The report provides an overview of the ongoing, coordinated efforts led by AOPO to improve system-wide effectiveness. These initiatives greatly impact the number of lives saved each year.

      • Expand Collaboration: AOPO Meetings, National Partners, HRSA DoNation Campaign, OPO IMPACT Improvement Program, Advocacy Outreach
      • Reduce Health Inequities: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Assessment Tool, National Organ, Eye, and Tissue Multicultural Action Group (NMAG), Historically Black College & University (HBCU) Medical School Programs
      • Maximize Organ Utilization: CMS End-Stage Renal Disease Treatment Choices Learning Collaborative (ETCLC), NASEM Report
      • Drive Research & Innovation: AOPO Foundation, Industry Partners, APOLLO Research

View the AOPO 50K Report to learn more.

While donation and transplantation are both increasing, one of the biggest challenges outlined in the report to reaching the 50,000-transplant goal is the non-utilization of available organs. The number of recovered organs left unused continued to rise in 2022, with 26% of the kidneys recovered by OPOs not placed in patients by transplant programs. This accounts for thousands of organs wasted each year that could have potentially been transplanted into someone desperately waiting for a lifesaving organ.

The non-utilization issue is also highlighted in a 2022 report by the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM), which conducted a holistic review of the system requested by Congress and sponsored by the National Institutes of Health. Moving forward, AOPO has incorporated the recommendations of NASEM into our 50,000 initiative.

For the organ donation and transplantation system to see true success, OPOs, donor hospitals, transplant programs, federal entities, and other stakeholders must work together toward this common goal. We will continue to challenge our members, as well as our partners, to support and implement strategies that make the goal of 50,000 organ transplants annually achievable, saving more lives each year through the gift of life.

Steve Miller, MBA, CAE

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