Two New Laws Help Bring Awareness to Organ Donation

Governor Doyle and crowd; MADISON – More than fifteen hundred people across Wisconsin are on organ and tissue transplant waiting lists, and that number continues to grow each day. The sad fact is that some of those individuals will pass away because not enough organs are available. Two new laws recently signed in a ceremony at the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics by Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle will hopefully help to change that.

The Uniform Anatomical Gift Act will help make it easier for families to donate tissue and organs of loved ones. Twenty-two states have similar laws already in place. In essence, the law helps ensure that a person's wish to donate organs and tissues is honored and it clarifies who may give consent for donation when no directives have been established. This law also helps bring Wisconsin one step closer to a statewide donor registry.

The second law creates a new Wisconsin license plate that will help fund and promote organ and tissue donation. These license plates, like other special license plates, will bring in $25 annually for each plate which will support Donate Life Wisconsin, a coalition of Wisconsin's Organ Procurement Organization's, Transplant Centers and Eye and Tissue Banks. The monies raised from the license plate will help fund more public education about the need for organ and tissue donation and eventually, could also be used to support a statewide registry.

Kristie Nielson Corning is happy to finally see the license plate become a reality. She made the decision to donate her daughter's organs five years ago.

"People aren't aware of the possibilities," Nielson Corning said. "You can affect so many lives through donation. And it's important for people to talk about it. Even teenagers should let their parents know what they'd like."

Nielson Corning is a member of Donate Life Wisconsin and also volunteers with the UW Health Organ Procurement Organization, which actively worked to help make both laws a reality. The organization is dedicated to educating health care professionals and the community on the critical need for organ donation and is recognized as one of the most successful organ procurement organizations in the nation.

The Organ Procurement Organization urges people interested in becoming donors to register with the Wisconsin Department of Motor Vehicles. For more information on listing your intent to donate, or to learn more about organ donation, visit and click on "learn about donation." 

Date Published: 11/21/2008

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