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Residents ages 16 and 17 allowed to register as organ donors, under new law

Residents ages 16 and 17 can now become organ and tissue donors, under the Drive for Life Act signed into law this week.

Under the Act, Illinois residents 16-years-old and older can join the First Person Consent Organ and Tissue donor registry when they receive their driver’s licenses or state ID cards. While the law gives 16-year-olds and 17-year-olds the right to express their wishes to become an organ donor, parents and guardians will still have the right to give or revoke consent until the donor turns 18.

Secretary of State Jesse White and state legislators have been working with organ procurement organizations Mid-America Transplant Services and Gift of Hope Organ and Tissue Network to get the Drive for Life Act written into law.

Illinois joins the 47 other states that allow 16-year-olds and 17-year-olds to register as organ donors. In Illinois alone, more than 4,700 people are on the waiting list, and every year, around 300 people die waiting for a transplant.

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