THE NUMBER of Irish people providing organs to family members and friends is set to exceed 30 for the first time this year.
A total of 32 living donor transplants are expected to be carried out by the end of the year, according to Phyllis Cunningham, senior coordinator at Beaumont Hospital in Dublin.
"We are gradually increasing our services. We have done 28 (living donor transplants) so far this year and we are hoping to get it up to 32. That's the highest number we've ever done," she said.
The transplant unit at Beaumont carried out 28 such operations last year.
Colm White, National Project Manager with the Irish Kidney Association, said that interest in the living donor programme was intensified by high profile cases including that of Joe Brolly providing a kidney to his friend Shane Finnegan.
"The Joe Brolly story put it out there and got people talking about it. It also led to more media interest in living donors."
Mr White said they were receiving more calls from people interested in the process.
"In the last 10 days, there are two to three living donor transplants going on. There has been a definite surge in recent years. I think people are realising they can be living donors for transplants. It has become established now. It is becoming the norm rather than the exception.''
Mr White said the living donations had advantages for the recipient, not least because the surgery is scheduled and therefore the time the organ is out of the body can be kept to an absolute minimum.
He added that statistics show there is little or no negative impact on the donor's life.