As in other states, New Jersey’s Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) has a registration program for organ donation in place for drivers in case they tragically lose their lives in automobile-related collisions but want to offer their organs and/or tissues to those in need. In New Jersey alone, over 3,500 people are currently waiting for transplants, and over 2.3 million New Jersey residents have already donated organs and helped save similar lives in need. While this isn’t necessarily an option individuals must take, it is an opportunity to provide hope to thousands and one anyone should at least consider.
Registering as an Organ Donor
First and foremost, all organ donors must be 18 years of age or older, and all eligible donors can register either online or in-person through their local MVC office. They require their social security and driver’s license numbers as well as their user ID number for online registrations. No fees are attributed to the donor or the family related to organ donation—every fee and recovery cost is paid for via New Jersey’s Sharing Network.
Upon deciding to register as a donor, it’s best to inform your family members of the decision. In the event of a fatality, the hospital receiving you as a patient will still have questions regarding donation preferences, even for registered donors. It’s crucial that individuals know their intentions, such as the tissues or organs they want to donate, in order to avoid family having to make hard decisions for you during their grief.
Now that online donor registration is available in the state of New Jersey, individuals can sign up through the Gift of Life if they live in South Jersey or through Donate Life NJ if they live in North Jersey. They may also register at ORGANIZE.org, which would place their information into a central national database. In-person organ donor registration can also be done whenever individuals renew or apply for a state ID card or driver’s license.
Changing Donor Information
Individuals may change the donor profile on their non-driver ID card or driver’s license by visiting their local MVC office. To make changes, they must present six points of identification as well as a verification of their physical address. They may also update online via ORGANIZE.org or mail their request via a “change of status” form to the Motor Vehicle Commission in Trenton.
How Donation Works
Upon being registered as a donor and listed in the organ donor registry, the donor’s part in the process has been completed. For there, the Sharing Network works with hospitals to allocate organs to patients who need them. If the possibility of a match is noted, the subsequent steps are then taken:
- Referral: Patients meeting donation requirements are referred to the Sharing Network for the next organ available.
- Evaluation: Donation specialists assess the patient’s status and medical history in order to decide if a tissue or organ donation can occur.
- Approach: Families who’ve lost loved ones are approached for donation by hospital or Sharing Network staff. If the intent to donate is clarified via registration or a similar method, Sharing Network staff assist the donor’s family through the process.
- Management: Tissue and organ donations are handled to allow for the maximum use of the donated organs. Once the organs are available for donation, recipients are found immediately and then prepared.
- Organ Recovery: Tissues and organs are recovered, under sterile circumstances, in a hospital.
One’s gift of organ donation is and will always be widely appreciated. However, for those who would rather not register as a donor but would like to support organ donation, they can become a volunteer educator, make a contribution for organ donation support efforts, or even participate in fundraisers, such as the UASTF Certified Race or the New Jersey Sharing Network’s Annual Walk.
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