Although there have been advances in medical technology and donation, the demand for organ, eye and tissue donation still vastly exceeds the number of donors. Nationally, the donor registration rate is about 43 percent, according to Donate Life America, a donor advocacy organization.
In 2010, the Electronic Signature Act passed, allowing people to register as donors online.
million registered donors. Yet, the stark reality of unmet need still loomed with more than 110,000 men, women, and children waiting for organ transplants to save their lives. The waiting list continued to grow at a rate of 1 person every 10 minutes.
People in need of organs have no choice but take matters into their own hands and proactively look for donors.
An Oregon man in need of a kidney transplant has taken his search to the streets of Oregon. Earl Martinez, 28, suffers from a hereditary disease that rules out any one in his family as a donor.
Battling a hereditary kidney disorder since birth, Martinez has been receiving dialysis three times a week for four hours a day, the past 18 months. He said his insurance will cover costs on both sides and the donor won't have to pay any expenses.
Mandie Hale, 22, battles kidney failure since the age of two due to a bout of E Coli. Her face and name are now on a series of billboards throughout the Atlanta area with the plea "Find a Kidney Match for Mandie. Save Her Life!" with the phone number of her personal donor coordinator.
This week two California teens, Robbie and Jazzy Carroll, posted on Facebook a picture of themselves holding up a sign reading, "We aren't asking for a puppy, cat or bunny. We want 1 million likes for awareness for organ donations and congenital heart defects.” Their father died of a congenital heart defect. Twenty four hours later their post had over 440,000 likes.
Washington D.C. Council member Marion Barry (D-Ward 8), who received a kidney transplant in 2009, introduced a bill this month that would give District residents a tax credit of up to $25,000 if they donate one of their organs to another individual.
The bill is designed to help cover medical and other expenses associated with organ donation.
But the proposal is controversial. While some health professionals and academics argue Barry’s approach is needed to reduce the shortage of organ donors, others worry it could encourage the sale of organs. In 1984, Congress passed a law banning the sale of organs, but it’s legal to reimburse a donor for medical and legal expenses.