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May 2, 2012 at 4:00 PM

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Facebook offers an organ donor option

Need to take a step further

Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook deserve applause for their recent attempt to encourage users to become organ donors. [“100,000 Facebook users use new organ donor option,”, May 2.]

Public opinion surveys show that the vast majority of Americans favor organ donation (over 80 percent), yet only 50 percent take the affirmative step to opt-in today. By allowing users to prominently note their organ donor status, Facebook’s effort could have an enormous impact in incentivizing Americans to hop “off the fence” and to sign up for organ donation.

We should not let our public health efforts stop there. Other incentives could include providing organ-donors discounts on driver’s license renewal fees, tax breaks, or priority on the organ waitlist should they ever require an organ themselves.

This last incentive, pioneered by, has the added benefit of making our organ allocation system more equitable — roughly half of organs transplanted today go to individuals who themselves are not signed up as donors. Why should we not allocate priority to those individuals who themselves are willing to give the gift of life?

— Steve Calandrillo, Seattle

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