The nationwide response to taper the spread of COVID-19 has brought families together just in time for National Donate Life Month. This is the perfect time to research and engage in a conversation with your families about the importance of registering to be an organ, tissue or eye donor. National Donate Life Month is held in April and was established by Donate Life America to foster public conversations about organ donation while encouraging registration.
The Louisiana Organ Procurement Agency (LOPA) was established in 1988 and is the federally designated organ procurement organization that serves the entire state of Louisiana. LOPA’s Core Purpose is “Making Life Happen.” LOPA recovers organs and tissue for transplant and maintains the Louisiana Donor Registry. The Donation Facts section on LOPA’s website is a great place to find information about the donation process.
The Mississippi Organ Recovery Agency (MORA) is the federally designated organ procurement organization for Mississippi. Much like LOPA, they also facilitate the recovery of organs and tissue for transplant procedures. The MORA website is a great resource to understand the organ donation process in the state of Mississippi.
- The United Network for Organ Sharing
The United Network for Organ Sharing is the nonprofit organization that manages the nation’s organ transplant system. Its website has information about the waiting list, how organs are matched to recipients, living donation and all the policies that regulate donation and transplantation. It has over 2,000 people waiting for a transplant in Louisiana and 1,300 people waiting for a transplant in Mississippi. Nationally, there are over 112,000 people waiting for a lifesaving transplant surgery.
- The Gifted Life Podcast
If you prefer to learn on the go, check out The Gifted Life Podcast. They have informative conversations about organ, tissue and eye donation and transplantation and release new episodes every other Friday.
- Louisiana Donor Registry
The Louisiana Donor Registry is one of the oldest donor registries in the United States. Over 2.5 million people have made the decision to be a donor in Louisiana. Initially, people primarily registered as a donor at the Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles offices and added the “little red heart” on their license or state ID. While this is still a frequently used avenue for registration, access to technology is grown and many people are now choosing to make their wishes known by registering online at lopa.org/register or on the National Donate Life Registry at registerme.org. You can even sign up using the Health app on your iPhone.
However, you choose to register your decision to donate, you only have to do it once. You can either register in your local organ procurement organization or the national registry. At the time of your death, LOPA, MORA or the organ procurement organization in your area will evaluate you to see if are able to donate. They will also ensure you are in the state and national registry.
Registering as an organ, tissue and eye donor is legal consent for donation. However, it's important to let your family or medical power of attorney know your wishes so they can help support your decision.
Anyone can register to be a donor. Age or a medical condition doesn’t eliminate a person’s potential to be a donor. Organ and tissue donation have different criteria than blood donation or bone marrow donation. Your medical provider will determine your ability to donate at the time of death. Rest assured, that it is possible to have the funeral service of your choice that also respects your religious beliefs.
To learn more about you can save lives please visit https://www.ochsner.org/save-9... .