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Why Don’t More People Register as Organ, Eye and Tissue Donors?

In 2015, we conducted a study examining Colorado and Wyoming residents’ sentiments about organ, eye and tissue donation. Throughout 2016, we will be sharing some of the results on Donation Essentials to educate on the donation process, barriers to registration and what exactly the little heart on the driver’s license means.

A large number of Colorado and Wyoming residents are registered organ, eye and tissue donors; in fact, both states continue to maintain registration rates higher than the national average. However, independent research we conducted in 2015 also revealed that there is a disparity between the number of people who say that they support donation in theory and the number of people who actually register as donors. When asked, 93 percent of respondents in Colorado and 94 percent of respondents in Wyoming say they support organ donation, but only 75 and 70 percent of respondents are registered donors in those states, respectively.

So, why don’t more people choose to register to donate?

That’s a tough question that doesn’t have an easy answer. Respondents listed common reasons for not registering as simply not getting around to it or being uncomfortable with the overall idea of donation. For 30 percent of non-registrants in Wyoming and 35 percent in Colorado, there is no real reason or they just hadn’t really thought about it.

Like many issues, unless it touches you personally it can sometimes be difficult to truly grasp the importance. However, we encourage everyone to learn about the many transplant recipients that are living right here in Colorado and Wyoming. Also families of donors, who find solace in knowing that their lost loved ones have given new life to patients in need. You can read some of these inspiring stories from our communities here.

Seventeen percent of respondents in both Colorado and Wyoming fell prey to one of the common misconceptions of organ, eye and tissue donation; they didn’t believe they were healthy enough to be donors. Therefore, they didn’t register. Don’t rule yourself out. Regardless of your age or your medical history, anyone can register as an organ, eye and tissue donor. Medical tests at the time of donation will determine which organs and tissues are suitable for transplantation.

To learn more about organ, eye and tissue donation and the reasons to say “yes” to donation, visit our “Why Donate” page, and to register to become a donor, visit Donate Life Colorado.