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So You Want to Be an Organ Donor

By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. | Last updated on

Want to declare yourself as an organ donor on Facebook? Well, now you can.

In a bid to increase awareness about organ donation, Facebook will now allow users to publicly mark themselves as organ donors. CEO Mark Zuckerberg was reportedly inspired by the social network's role in recent disasters -- connecting people and people with their things. With 114,000 individuals in the U.S. waiting for a transplant, he thought donation would be a good next step.

So, how do you become an organ donor?

1. Designate it on your driver's license. Every state has a donor registry and the easiest way to add yourself is when you renew or apply for a license. You'll usually be issued a special sticker or your status will be printed on your new card. If you forgot to do this, sign up online.

2. Talk to your family. Becoming an organ donor is not a last minute decision -- you won't be conscious during the discussion. Talk to your family early and often about what you would like to happen should your organs be viable for a transplant. It's a difficult decision and it'll be easier to make if they've had your input.

3. Make it legal. Most people use advance directives and living wills to dictate the kind of medical care they want to receive once they become incapacitated. These documents can also be used should you want to become an organ donor. Not only can you specify whether you want to donate your organs, you can specify which organs you want to donate. Speaking to an estate planning attorney could also prove helpful.

If you're thinking about becoming an organ donor (Facebook or no Facebook), there's one other thing to ponder. Organ donation is likely a far off occurrence, but donating blood or bone barrow are not. So also consider participating in a local blood drive or signing up for the national bone marrow registry.

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