The evolution of Iowa Donor Network (IDN) began long before its original 1994 incorporation date. In 1970, on the heels of a successful kidney transplant in Iowa City, a program for transplantation, organ procurement and preservation was established in the state.
By the late 1970s, the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics (UIHC) had a nationally recognized transplant program, complete with a Transplant Coordinator. This professional facilitated the transplant and organ procurement process, conducted professional and public education, and managed post-transplant care of recipients. Soon it became clear than a formal Organ Procurement Organization (OPO) was needed. This led to the formation of the Iowa Statewide Organ Procurement Organization (ISOPO), managed by UIHC.
In 1993, the ISOPO separated from UIHC and established offices in Iowa City and Des Moines. Its role remained as an advocate and facilitator of donation, but it placed greater emphasis on education and hospital development.
The ISOPO continued to expand its staff and the scope of its activities. By the mid-90s, the organization became what it is today, Iowa Donor Network. Both procurement and hospital development procedures continued to be refined and formalized. At the center of this “network” are the donors and their families, whose generosity and courage make donation happen.
In 2019, Iowa Donor Network marked its 25th anniversary and celebrated the rich history that established its firm foundation. The organization continues to have a positive impact on the communities it serves by facilitating the Gift of Life for those in need.