Iowa sees record set in 2023 for tissue donors

DES OINES — Officials with the Iowa Donor Network are releasing numbers for 2023 to celebrate the extraordinary impact of organ and tissue donation.

Network spokeswoman Heather Butterfield says during the past year, 123 “donor heroes” in Iowa gifted a remarkable 350 organs for transplant. She says a record was also set last year. “We had an unprecedented 1,027 tissue donors, and each tissue donor has the opportunity to enhance the lives of 50 to 300 people,” Butterfield says, “so we’re talking about thousands and thousands of lives saved, thanks to the generosity of donors from right here in Iowa.”

Over the past few years, she says more Iowans have checked the box to identify themselves as donors on their drivers’ licenses. “Iowa Donor Network has seen a remarkable 40% increase in organ donors since 2019 and a 21% increase in organs transplanted,” Butterfield says, “which just shows the incredible commitment that Iowans have to saving lives.”

Regardless of age or medical history, she says anyone can register to save lives as an organ, eye, and tissue donor.  “The most common way is at the DMV when people get their license. If they’re already a donor, it’ll say the word ‘DONOR’ right there on the front of your license,” Butterfield says. “If you aren’t registered, you can simply go online to our website,, click the ‘Register’ button, and it takes less than three minutes to sign up.”

Butterfield says the selflessness and generosity of Iowa’s donors creates a lasting legacy of hope and healing.