April is Donor Awareness Month. The Clarke County Treasuerers Office staff is supporting Donor Awareness as this year marks the 25th anniversary of the Iowa Donor Network.
The Iowa Donor Network has green t-shirts available to be worn every Friday in April. The Iowa Donor Network (IDN) is a nonprofit organization in charge of organ, tissue and eye donations for the state of Iowa. The Iowa Department of Transportation is a partner of the Iowa Donor Network and helps with organ donation.
In Iowa, there are currently 32 people on the waiting list for a heart, 528 people waiting for a kidney and 23 people waiting for a liver.
Any Iowa resident can be considered for organ donation. There are no age requirements and no costs associated with the procedure.
To register as an organ donor, anyone over the age of 18 can register with the Iowa Donor Network in person at the Clarke County Diver License and Vehicle Registration office in the Clarke County Courthouse, onilne at https://iowadonornetwork.worldsecuresystems.com/members/register-as-a-donor or at ORGANIZE.org to be on the national registry database.
There are absolutely no fees associated with organ donations, as the Organ Procurement Organization (OPO) covers all related costs.
In order for the OPO to utilize and pass on organs, a person must have died from an automobile accident, stroke, aneurysm, or other irreparable neurological injury. Moreover, blood and oxygen must continue to flow to the organs until they can be recovered. Further, only after all efforts have been taken to save the patient’s life can donation be a possibility. The state donor registry then looks through the donor database and must obtain consent from a relative, spouse or other authorized representative. The national transplant waiting list is then searched to determine a suitable candidate.
While medical history will affect how many organs are usable, it will not automatically bar someone from being considered for organ donation. For example, many cancer patients can still be approved as donors.
Donated organs are distributed to transplant recipients based on factors such as length of time on the waiting list, blood type, geographical location and severity of illness. Criteria such as income, age, gender or race are never considered.
Ways to help with organ donation are to become a living donor, meaning donate part of an organ. Living donors can donate a portion of the pancreas, a lobe of a single lung or a segment of the liver. Monetary contributions are also accepted by the IDN to help the registry continue operations. Another way to help spread awareness is to purchase an Organ and Tissue Donor Awareness license plate.