Texas’ Organ, Tissue Donor Program Approaches Five Million Registrants
AUSTIN, January 2, 2014 – In 2013 the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) recorded more than 1.6 million Texas registrants to the Glenda P. Dawson Donate Life Texas Registry, boosting the total registry to nearly five million individuals. The registry is the state database of individuals who have officially indicated their decisions to donate organs and tissue to benefit thousands of people currently awaiting transplants.
“The DPS driver license system is the primary avenue for an individual to register as a donor, and we are proud to be a part of this program aimed at saving lives,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “Each year more and more Texans make the choice to participate in the Donate Life Texas Registry, and every new donor has the potential to change the lives of many others.”
As of Dec. 31, 2013, the organ donor registry included 4.8 million Texans, accounting for 25 percent of the state’s adult population. Last year’s monthly registration totals averaged approximately 138,000 individuals, an astonishing 177 percent increase over the average monthly totals for 2012.
“In four short years, Donate Life Texas and the Texas Department of Public Safety have increased the number of registered donors in Texas from 500,000 to nearly 5 million,” said Patti Niles, president of Donate Life Texas. “DPS provides a simple way for Texans to register as donors while they go about their regular business. We’ve always known that Texans are generous; we just had to find a way to make it convenient to register. On behalf of those awaiting transplants, we sincerely thank DPS for providing a convenient opportunity for Texans to Donate Life.”
The 79th Texas Legislature created the registry in 2005, and in recent years, legislation has helped streamline the registration process, and additional DPS training has helped increase participation. Residents can register at their local DPS office when applying for or renewing a driver license or identification card, or they can enroll online at www.donatelifetexas.org or www.donevidatexas.org.
Two state agencies – the DPS and the Department of Motor Vehicles – and three organ and tissue recovery agencies – LifeGift, Southwest Transplant Alliance and Texas Organ Sharing Alliance – participate in the registry.
Currently more than 11,000 individuals are awaiting organ or tissue transplants in Texas – and more than 120,000 nationally. In 2013, according to Donate Life Texas, 143 DPS registered donors saved 486 lives.