April is National Donate Life Month – sign up to be an organ donor

April is National Donate Life Month. You can earn 10 points in the My Wellness portal by signing up to be an organ donor. Track it as an External Wellness Experience to earn points. Learn more about the history and benefits of organ donation below. 

Saving Lives – One organ at a time from Healthy You by UMR 

In the U.S., more than 106,000 people are currently on the waiting list for life-saving organ transplants. The simple act of signing up to be an organ donor can make the difference in someone’s life. Organ donation goes back to 1954, when the first human organ to be transplanted successfully was a kidney. Up until the 1980s, it was very common for a recipient’s body to reject a transplanted organ, limiting the number of donations and transplants. Because of medical advances in the harvesting of organs and the prevention of treatment of rejection, the current-day system in the U.S. for organ donation and recovery is among the best in the world. 

In fact, by December of 2021, the U.S. officially surpassed 40,000 transplants in one year – a historic first. 

Organ harvesting and subsequent transplantation is a very delicate and sometimes time-sensitive process. In the case of the death of a donor, some harvested organs must be transplanted very quickly so they do not remain outside a body for long. There are also several factors surrounding the donor’s body (such as blood type and even ethnicity) and the recipient’s. 

A complex national database of donors and their vital statistics and the statistics of those on a waiting list is maintained and consulted once organs become available for transplant. 

How do I become an organ donor? 

It’s very simple. You can indicate that you want to be an organ donor in three ways: 

  1. Register with your state’s donor registry: Wisconsin’s donor registry.  
  2. Designate your choice on your driver’s license. You can do this when you first obtain your license or when you renew. 
  3. Tell your family. Make sure your family knows you wish to donate your organs. 

Learn more about different types of organ donations and read a donation story.