Facebook in organ donation drive


Facebook is aiming to raise the number of organ donors across the country by allowing users to list their organ donor status on the social networking site.

From today, Irish Facebook users can declare their willingness to become an organ donor, with the added benefit of sharing that information with friends and family.

By clicking a new health and wellbeing button, users can list their organ donor status on the site.

Thousands of Irish people carry organ donor cards in their wallets or handbags but often without the knowledge of friends and family, according to the social networking site.

"By providing these people with the tools to share their status as an organ donor, the power of sharing will increase awareness of the importance of organ donation and save lives," Facebook said in a statement.

Minister for Health James Reilly said "organ transplantation can have a transformational effect on the life of a recipient. I hope that the publicity around this launch encourages families around the country to talk about organ donation".

Today's announcement follows the launch of similar services in the USA, UK, Australia, and the Netherlands.

The push by the social networking site in the United States resulted in a 1,000 per cent increase to the organ donor registry. In the first few days, more than 100,000 people changed their status to indicate they were willing to be donors.

There was a record number of organ donations last year as deceased donors increased by 60 per cent on 2010, according to the Irish Kidney Association.

There were 93 deceased organ donors last year, which allowed 248 organ transplants to be carried out.

Last year surpassed the previous record of 91 deceased donors which was set in 1998.