A record number of Iowans gave the gift of life in 2018 by being an organ, tissue or eye donor that resulted in hundreds of lives being saved.

The Iowa Donor Network (IDN), a non-profit organization based out of North Liberty, reports that in 2018, Iowa had the highest number of organ donors in the state's history.

In total, 74 deceased donors gave the gift of life which resulted in 248 organs transplanted, also the most ever in Iowa's history.

The IDN credits the record with giving, caring Iowans and an innovative and responsive health care system.

"Iowans continue to show compassion by registering as donors and saying 'yes’ to donation when the opportunity arises," says CEO Suzanne Conrad. "We are so thankful for the generosity of the donors and their families and the incredibly dedicated health care providers that help carry out these wishes."

A record number of Iowans also registered as organ, tissue, and eye donors in 2018.

There are currently 1.8 million Iowans on the Iowa Donor Registry. Nationally, 54 percent of adults are registered donors.

Iowa is well above the average with 73 percent of adults on the registry.

The IDN provides professional and public education on the importance of organ, tissue, and eye donation.

The non-profit organization also collaborates with several statewide agencies including the Iowa Department of Transportation, Department of Public Health and groups including the Iowa Association of County Medical Examiners, the Iowa Hospital Association and the Iowa EMS Association to raise awareness and maximize donation opportunities.

"Donation gives a person the chance to leave an incredible legacy, and provides a small glimmer of light in what is a dark time for their families,” said Conrad.

Conrad added that, additionally, recipients are given the hope of returning to work, school or just spending time with friends and family.

“Organ donation is truly the gift of life,” Conrad said.