back to article Facebook button triggers tidal wave of human organs

Thousands of Facebook users packed with fresh, reusable organs have signed up to the organ donor lists in the US and the UK. The NHS saw 850 direct signups through Facebook in the 24 hours since the option went live, and noticed a spike in website donor sign-ups too. The Donate Life San Diego branch posted a 1400% increase in …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Good to see, but its still a stop gap until we can grow replacements....

    1. llewton

      we better find some habitable planets, destroy their native populations, and start colonizing them before people stop dying of natural causes on this one. or it's gonna get messy.

      1. ZankerH

        Not if a sane policy for administering the aging cure is implemented. Like handing in your ovaries in exchange for it.

        1. Ben 42

          "Like handing in your ovaries in exchange for it."

          You can have all my ovaries in exchange for a drink from the fountain of youth.

  2. Greg J Preece

    Armchair activism put to good use for once. Kinda sad that any kind of altruism is far more effective if you give someone the option to tell everyone about it on their Facebook feed.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Maybe it is more that it's easy to do and is making more people aware that it is easy to do.

      1. Eddy Ito


        It's likely you're right but it seems pretty easy already. They ask me every time I'm at the DMV regardless of why I'm there, which is usually twice a year, and they don't even bother to notice that box is already checked on my drivers license. Perhaps its also that FB also applies to passengers, cyclists and pedestrians as well and isn't limited to just drivers. Given the way people drive around here, I'm always a bit surprised there is a donor shortage, well except for the ones who play beat the train across the crossing as there's probably little left worth donating.

  3. Michael Hawkes
    Thumb Up


    I work with ophthalmologists who perform cornea transplants and I've met patients who have had them done. I don't have an FB account and normally don't think very highly of the company, but for this I give them a thumbs up. If it gets more people to sign up as organ and tissue donors, it will be incredibly worthwhile.

  4. joeW
    Thumb Up

    Good to see

    But I can't for the life of me see why organ donation is still opt-in rather than opt-out.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Good to see

      It doesn't have to be - thanks to a fairly recent law it's now opt out in at least Finland. And no, the relatives don't have anything to say about it unless they are prepared to testify that the potential donor did object to being a donor when alive. Not that it's really enforced at the moment (the relatives still have a veto in practice but only because it's not a good idea to confront them in such delicate issues and situations).

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Good to see

      You could argue that 'opt out' presumes the state owns your body.

      1. Thomas Davie

        Re: Good to see

        you mean that it presumes the state owns your body once your brain isn't using it... Which is fair enough.

    3. JimmyPage

      Re: Good to see

      I never understood why, even when they find a donor card on the body, doctors still feel they need to "ask the relatives". Because it really does come across as the card is a waste of time then.

      1. NomNomNom

        Re: Good to see

        well reverse-pick pockets like me go around putting donor cards into people's pockets

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Good to see

      Because I'm still using my organ.

  5. JimmyPage
    Thumb Up

    Bloody hell ...

    this is the first time, since FB started that I actually feel well-disposed towards it !!!! I have marked in in my diary !

    Hope they can ramp up blood donors too - I want to cry when I see so few people at my local sessions.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Bloody hell ...

      "Hope they can ramp up blood donors too - I want to cry when I see so few people at my local sessions."

      Perhaps if they removed the policy of excluding people who've had sexual relations with someone of the same sex, regardless of how many years ago it was, they might get more donors

      1. Greg J Preece

        Re: Bloody hell ...

        Reducing the time between donations might bloody help, too. Your body recovers from a blood donation within 4 - 6 weeks usually, so many countries limit it to 8 weeks between donations to be on the safe side. Here, we make it 12 weeks, which is far too long. No wonder you're short on blood supplies when a punter can only donate 4 pints a year!

        1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

          Re: Bloody hell ...

          It was only 3 times a year up until a few weeks ago. I just got an email from the Blood Transfusion Service to tell me I can now go for an extra donation per year. Weirdly, in the 90s, it was safe in the Midlands when they were separate regional services, but not anywhere else in the country.

          So I'll get by Blankety-Blank chequebook and pen this year instead of next, for reaching 50 donations.

      2. ThaMossop

        Re: Bloody hell ...

        Maybe they should add blood doning achievements or counts to FB?

  6. frank ly

    Breaking News ....

    Following a deal between Mark Zuckerberg and Andrew Lansley, the NHS will be sending out a fleet of refrigerated vans to perform doing door-to-door early collections starting next week. A Facebook message will tell you when to stay at home and wait.

    1. Steve Knox

      Re: Breaking News ....

      "Whenever life gets you down, Mrs. Brown..."

    2. JDX Gold badge

      Re: Breaking News ....

      They should partner with Google, and their fleet of snoopmobiles.

    3. Steven Roper
      Thumb Up

      Re: Breaking News ....

      Hello, errr, can we have your liver?

      1. JetSetJim
        Thumb Up

        Re: Breaking News ....

        Yay - go Monty:

  7. Ian Ferguson

    I bet all of them ticked the consent box without reading the full terms and conditions.

    *sharpens knives*

    1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

      Yup, just you wait until donors are starting to have accidents, or until the next "upgrade" which just happens to set your permissions for organ harvesting to "on", especially that helpful option "if I have 2, come and get one even when I'm still alive".

      I'm OK with the publicity, but I dislike donorship being trivialised in this way. But that's just me.

  8. llewton

    take my thumb while it's pointing up

    ... well, if anyone, facebook users know how it feels to wait and wait for that elusive brain transplant.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No brain transplants

    Although I do see it as being very positive that others are now signed up, what actually prompted them to sign up this time as opposed to any other medium/campaign to sign up? Just because it's on FB? If so, do they really understand what they are doing? I.e. it's not a "Like" or anything.

    Either way, if I was ever in the unfortunate position for a brain transplant, if the source was from an FB donor, I would definitely say "Unlike".

    1. NomNomNom

      Re: No brain transplants

      Have a heart, at least they are trying

      1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

        Re: have a heart

        Shouldn't you wait with donating a heart until you're dead?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I assume everyone opting for the "tell the world I'm an organ donor" option has watched episode 2 of the bridge (or more correctly AVSNITT 2 | AFSNIT 2 of BRON | BROEN)

  11. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    No bits please you're British

    You can't be an organ (or blood) donor on t'other side of the Atlantic if you are a Brit - or even lived there.

    Apparently we've all got mad cow disease - I tried to explain I was a chicken but it didn't help.

    1. John A Blackley

      Re: No bits please you're British

      Simply not true.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: No bits please you're British

        The US allows individual hospitals (or their credit cards) to make their own rule son transplants but ,

    2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: No bits please you're British

      The Belgians wouldn't take my blood when I lived there either. They thought I had BSE, and so was unclean. No-one who'd lived in Blighty between 1980 and 1995 or something.

  12. Anonymous Coward

    Surely shome mishtake?

    If this were true, by now someone would have posted a warning email to all staff from the Surgeon General of teh UK of A backed by the Cheef of Your Local Polize warning how criminal gangs are targeting good citizens based on there [sic] facebook profiles and setting up road accidents or drunken doped one-night-stand hunny-trapz for stealing organs to order? No? Just me? OK, first draft, here goes. "WARNING - Please Read!" / "I've received this warning and thought it too important not to pass on! The police are warning everyone..."

  13. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    Organs donations

    You can pry that liver out of my cold dead body! Oh, wait...

  14. Version 1.0 Silver badge

    Maybe they can combine it with Facebook recipes?

    Steak and kidney pie, Liver and onions? I'd +1 that ...


    1. Steven Roper
      Thumb Up

      Liver and onions?

      I prefer mine with some fava beans and a nice chianti...

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    2011 cost of a transplant, depending on organ/tissue: $600K - $1.2 million per organ/tissue

    2011 compensation paid to families of organ/tissue donors: $0 per organ/tissue


    As long as everybody else along the tissue/organ supply chain rakes in the big bucks, you can have my organs if you pony up some serious dough to provide for those I leave behind. I am sick of this "gift of life" propaganda perpetrated by entities whose entire income is derived from scamming me out of my organs/tissue for free.

    1. Ru

      "everybody else along the tissue/organ supply chain rakes in the big bucks"

      To be fair, you can't just scoop the spare vitals out of a cooling body, bung em in a jiffy bag and mail them to hopeful soul on dialysis or whatever. There's a fair number of highly trained folk involved and a decent amount of very specialised equipment to boot.

      I presume you are talking about the US medical system. This is what you get when you're so deathly afraid of 'socialism' and the government taxing you and spending money on your fellow citizens.

    2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      I can't speak for organ donation, but the UK blood transfusion service did some research, which showed their donations would go down if they paid. So they don't. Makes more sense in a country with free healthcare anyway. But paying cash for donations, as the US did in the 80s, had some pretty unfortunate consequences, which I believe is why they don't any more.

      Anyway, how much would you pay for an organ? Can I bung you $5k for your dying husband's kidney madam? That's going to be a fun conversation...

      Why not relax? You can do good, and make money, at the same time. Or should -we ban all doctors from being paid, because they shouldn't be making a profit from people being ill?

      Organ donation is fucking expensive, because it requires the patient to spend a lifetime on specialist drugs, requires at least 2 surgical teams (for the donor and the patient), probably 2 life-support machines, a lot of matching, testing and tissue typing, a big database infrastructure, and much follow-up work. All along the line people get paid, and make profits. So what.

    3. Bronny

      I am sick of this "gift of life" propaganda

      What on earth are you talking about ,you money grabbing fool. If you didn't donate your organs they would just go into the ground, or a burny fire, and be of absolutely no use at all and your family is bereaved. If you donate your organs your family has no additional suffering or costs.

      In fact, I speak from experience, I am immensely proud that my brother's bits and pieces are now living on in several other bodies, saving lives. Why on earth should I get compensation for that? The letters from the Organ Donation Co-ordinateor, and even from the donors, telling me how their lives are now unmeasurably better, are more than anyone should need.

      Sometimes, money is not the answer.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Altruism or a case of see-a-button-push-a-button ?

  17. Armando 123

    You can take my organ

    I have an old Hammond in the basement that's just taking up space. My guitars, however, are off-limits. And if anyone wants the bagpipes, Homeland Security will arrest them (and quite right, too, because that SHOULD be a terrorist weapon).

  18. Omgwtfbbqtime

    Live fast, die young, leave a terrible mess.

    I registered as organ donor a long time ago, probably about the time I started giving blood.

    The Mrs is under instructions that should I end up in a persistent vegitative state that the life support stay on long enough to farm out anything that is still salvagable.

    After all, if I'm not in there, it's just meat.

  19. Swiss Anton


    Wow, the constipation engine finally makes a real difference to the world. For once I am actually impressed. Now, if I need a new heart, kidney, liver, lung .... all I have to do is befriend someone on fecesblock who has clicked the button and then, ah no, maybe I should stop right here.

  20. Senior Ugli

    10:05 Joe Bloggs became a Fan of Organ Harvesting

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      10:20 Joe Bloggs signed-up to the Albanian Mafia page.

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