Organ Donor Registries Grow Thanks to Facebook

Green ribbon for organ donation awareness. Image by Wikimedia user MessrWoland.

Yesterday Facebook announced that it had teamed up with Donate Life America for a new initiative: promoting organ donation. Using a new feature in Facebook’s Timeline, Facebook users can sign up to be an organ donor and share their registration status on their Timeline. Since the announcement more than 100,000 users have used the feature, with over 18,000 as of Wednesday morning clicking through to sign up to be an organ donor.

Organ donation is regulated in a number of ways, including through a uniform law – specifically, the Uniform Anatomical Gift Act. There are three versions of the Act that are in use by various states; the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services maintains a chart of the differences in state legislation. The Uniform Anatomical Gift Act, among other things, includes provisions allowing people to sign up to become an organ donor when they receive their driver’s license. However, the success of this strategy is mixed, with registration rates differing greatly between states.

So maybe Facebook’s strategy will help with the transplant waiting list. Facebook has also set up a help page with instructions on how to sign up as an organ donor and share your status.

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