Some 44% of the United States population can now sign up as organ donors when renewing driver's licenses, but "caution should be exercised" about the impact of these registries, concludes Organ Donor Registries: A Useful, but Limited Tool, a DHHS report. The number of registries has grown recently; 16 states maintain the databases and six others are contemplating them.
On the plus side, registries can help organizations that procure organs by speeding identification of possible donors and helping to convince hospital staff and next of kin of a donor's wishes, notes the report. Families of registry enrollees consent to donation at a higher rate than families of nonenrollees.
Vastag B. Organ Registries Still Limited. JAMA. 2002;287(15):1930. doi:10.1001/jama.287.15.1930