More than 100,000 people are waiting for an organ to become available so they can get a transplant. The wait for an organ is so long because many people aren't registered organ donors or don't want to be living donors.
Why People Don't Donate
The top two reasons why so many people aren't registered to be organ donors are because they either don't have the opportunity to register, or they don't know where to go.
Jennifer Milton, chief administrative officer at University Health Transplant Institute and national chair of Donate Life America, talks about the need to be an organ donor and clarifies the process of organ donation.
How to Register to Become an Organ Donor
The No. 1 way people register to become organ donors is by registering for or renewing their driver's license. "If you get your renewal in Texas, that's about once every four years, so that's only once every four years you might be presented with that question (of whether you'd like to register to become an organ donor)," Milton said.
There are two great examples of creative ways for people to get informed about how to become a donor. "Texas recently began to allow you to register your wishes to be a donor when you get a hunting or fishing license," Milton said.
The other way has to do with Apple and your iPhone. "When you set up your phone, you set up your health apps, and it asks if you want to be an organ donor. About 5,000 people a day register their wishes on a health app on their iPhone," Milton said.
Myths around Organ Donation
There are some myths about organ donation that keep people from registering, including:
- Rich and famous people go to the top of the list when they need a donor organ
- You can't have an open casket funeral if you donate an organ
- You can't become pregnant or have a child if you donate an organ
- Only young and healthy people can be donors
- If you agree to donate an organ, doctors and emergency medical teams won't work as hard to save your life
"All efforts will be made and exhausted to save your life," Milton said. "It's not until after your life can't be saved that anyone would even check if you were a registered organ donor or begin that conversation with your family."
Register to Become an Organ Donor