Organizers of a group that’s looking for new members in Iowa say they’ve found a simple solution to the nation’s organ shortage: give organs first to people who have agreed to donate their own organs when they die. David Undis is executive director of LifeSharers, a non-profit group of people who make a simple agreement. Undis says “We all want our organs to be offered first to other organ donors before they’re offered to people who won’t agree to donate their organs. The whole point of LifeSharers is to increase the number of organ donors out there because there are so many people dying waiting for organ transplants.” Undis says six-thousand people in the U.S. die every year because they need an organ transplant and don’t get one. There’s nothing exclusive about the group, Undis says. Anyone can join, free. He says all you have to do is agree to donate your organs when you die and you’ll have a better chance of getting an organ should you need one while you’re alive. Undis says Iowans who’ve already checked “organ donor” on their drivers license will not have a conflict of any sort. You have everything to gain and nothing to lose, he says, as you’ve already agreed to donate your organs so you might as well get something in return. Undis says “About 70-percent of the organs transplanted in the United States go to people who haven’t agreed to donate their own organs when they die. People who are too lazy or too selfish to register as organ donors shouldn’t be eligible for transplants as long as there is a shortage of organs.” He says it’s not due to a lack of organs, it’s because so many people bury or cremate their organs when they die rather than let their neighbors have them. If everyone had to be an organ donor to get an organ transplant, then there’d be no shortage of organs. The Tennessee-based group went online in 2002 and has about three-thousand people as members so far, including 19 people in Iowa. Undis expects membership to be well over a million, once word spreads. For more information, surf to “www.lifesharers.com”. There’s also an Iowa-based organ and tissue donor group called the Iowa Donor Network at “www.iowadonornetwork.org”.
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