More than 90,000 people in this country are waiting for organ transplants. Many spend years hoping the right match will become available through the country's organ donor registry. About 17 people die each day because they don't receive organs in time.
To improve their chances, some have decided to take things into their own hands. Many have posted their pleas on the Internet, and an increasing number are subscribing to popular Web sites like matchingdonors.com, which try to pair potential donors with those in need of transplants.
The hope is that some altruistic Web surfer will come across their story and be so moved that they'll decide to become a living organ donor.
Bioethicist Jeffrey Kahn, director of the University of Minnesota Center for Bioethics, says it's natural for people to want to do whatever they can to save their lives or those of their loves ones.
But he says deciding who should receive a life-saving organ needs to be based on who is most likely to benefit from that organ, not who can attract the most attention on the Internet.
Kahn talked with MPR's Nikki Tundel.