FARMINGTON — New Mexico saw a sharp increase in organ donors since May 1 when Facebook started allowing users to share their organ-donor statuses.
In one week, 122 people in the state signed up online to be organ donors, said Maria Sanders, the community services coordinator for New Mexico Donor Services.
On average, about two people sign up to be organ donors each day in New Mexico. Most people register while getting a driver’s license or identification card from the New Mexico Motor Vehicle Division, even though New Mexico allows people to register to donate organs online at nmdonor.org.
Facebook, the social networking site, started an initiative May 1 that allows users to post their organ donation status. Facebook also made it so users can link to Donate Life America’s National Registration page, which allows people to join state donor registries.
Less than 1 percent of deaths will qualify a person’s organs to be used to help someone with a terminal illness. A person must be brain dead to donate, so oftentimes people only qualify to donate organs after a tragic accident.
“It is tremendously important for individuals to indicate their intent to be an organ donor,” Sanders said. “If a family is faced with making the decision and they have no idea what the person’s desire was, it is so much more difficult to make those decisions during tragic and often unexpected deaths.”
There are 750 New Mexicans waiting for an organ transplant. About 80 percent of them are waiting for a kidney transplant, Sanders said.
— This article appeared on page C02 of the Albuquerque Journal