There were 681 organ transplants in Belgium in 1996, 13 percent more than the previous year, according to Eurotransplant, the organization that manages the exchange of human organs in the Benelux, Germany and Austria. Compared to 1995, the number of kidney transplants rose by a quarter to 410, while heart transplants rose 6 percent to 107. Liver transplants were down 5 percent to 135. In 1999, the first liver transplant without a blood transfusion was performed in LiÃ¨ge, Belgium to a Jehovah's Witness whose religion forbids transfusions.
In the USA in 2000, a total of 22,827 organ transplants were performed, an increase of 5.4 percent over 1999. More than 75,000 people are on the transplant waiting list.
Cord blood is collected from the umbilical cords of newborns shortly after birth. It is rapidly available because it can be stored in a blood bank and it does not need to be a perfect match for the patient's blood. These transplants are much less likely to be rejected by the patient because they have not been exposed to outside antigens.