March 2, 2011

Organ Donation – NEWS FOR YOU… from the Iowa Department of Transportation

By Debra Carney
Driver License Supervisor
Office of Driver Services
Davenport, Iowa

During Driver’s License and Identification card issuance many questions are asked of customers. One question is whether the customer wishes to be an organ donor.

Many responses can be heard, ‘I’m too young,’ ‘I’m too old,’ ‘mine are worn out,’ or ‘I’ll do it later.’ The following information covers a few facts pertaining to organ donation.

There is no limit to how young or how old an individual may be to donate organs. For younger individuals it is true, in a legal sense, that those under age 18 cannot consent without parent authorization. Children also are in need of organ transplants and usually need organs smaller than those an adult can provide. For older individuals, organs have been successfully transplanted from donors in their 70s and 80s. An older individual with a healthy life style may have organs in better condition than a younger individual. The decision to use organs is based on strict medical criteria, not age. Don’t disqualify yourself prematurely due to your age. Let the doctor decide.

Can your organs wear out and be unsuitable for donating? Again, the decision is based on strict medical criteria. Very few medical conditions automatically disqualify you from donating organs. It may be true that certain organs are not suitable for transplantation, but other organs and tissues may be fine. Only medical professionals at the time of your death can determine whether your organs are suitable for transplantation.

If you are considering organ donation, why wait? The ‘I’ll do it later’ crowd may wait until it’s too late. Now that you’ve read a few facts about organ donation, you will be prepared for that question when you have your Drivers License or Identification card issued.

In addition to adding it to your Drivers License or Identification card, there are a few other things you can do to become an organ donor:

• Register with the Iowa donor registry: Or contact the Iowa Donor Network at 1-800-831-4131.
• Ask for a Donor Registration card at your local Drivers License Station.
• Include your wishes in your living will.
• Tell your family of your wishes.

Organ donation is the gift of life, take some time to consider ‘recycling’ yourself.