"With 1,819 pediatric patients on organ transplant waitlists and only 852 pediatric organ transplant donors each year, it is especially clear that we can and should, if possible, do more to encourage the public to become registered organ donors," Sebelius wrote.
OPTN issued a statement last week noting that there is a separate policy for children because the "biological needs and circumstances of candidates younger than age 12 are different from either adolescent or adult candidates. One key difference is the size and lung capacity of donors and patients among these age ranges."
Children younger than age 12 are prioritized for donations from other children of similar age and size within a 1,000-mile radius.
Policies allow "status adjustments for specifically defined groups of candidates with unique medical circumstances not addressed by the overall policy," the statement said.
The network routinely reviews policies and considers "public input as well as medical data and experience," the statement said.