16-, 17-year-olds now can register to be organ donors in Illinois
Legislation which allows 16- and 17-year-olds to register for the State of Illinois’ First Person Consent Organ/Tissue Donor Registry when they receive their driver’s license or identification card will take effect on Jan. 1, 2018.
“Our main priority is to save lives,” Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White said.
“Thousands of Illinoisans are waiting for an organ. Those who are waiting are someone’s mother, father, daughter or son.
“This new law is an important step in reducing the number of individuals on the waiting list.”
Under the law which had been in effect, an individual must be at least 18 years old to join the First Person Consent Organ/Tissue Donor Registry.
The legislation amends the Illinois Anatomical Gift Act and allows 16- and 17-year-olds to join the registry.
Those who join the registry will receive a letter of thanks from the Illinois Secretary of State’s office.
White encourages 16- and 17-year-olds to use this letter as a basis for discussing their choice with their parents.
By joining the First Person Consent Organ/Tissue Donor Registry, 16- and 17-year-olds will be giving consent to donate their organs and tissue at the time of their death with only the single limitation that the procurement organizations (Gift of Hope Organ & Tissue Network and Mid-America Transplant) must make a reasonable effort to contact a parent or guardian to ensure they approve of the donation.
The parent or guardian will then have the opportunity to overturn the child’s decision.
Once the 16- or 17-year-old turns 18, that decision would be considered legally binding without limitation.
There are 47 states that have enacted this legislation. In 2016, more than 350,000 16- and 17-year-olds in Illinois were issued driver’s licenses and identification cards.
“Approximately 4,700 people are on the waiting list in Illinois and about 300 people die each year waiting for an organ transplant,” White said.
“One person can improve the quality of life for up to 25 people. Currently, 6.3 million Illinoisans are registered with the state’s registry.”
Illinois residents can register with the Secretary of State’s Organ/Tissue Donor Registry at LifeGoesOn.com, by calling 1-800-210-2106 or by visiting their local driver services facility.