Lisa Spicknall, Donate Life Maryland’s (DLM’s) Executive Director, said that a new organ donation law goes into effect on July 1, 2022, per Maryland House Bill 301.
“What it states is that Marylanders who choose to donate their organs, eyes, and tissues at the Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) will have an option to donate these gifts for research and education purposes, in addition to transplantation and therapy,” Spicknall told The Baltimore Times. “This new law will allow the research and education aspect to help provide valuable and meaningful ways for researchers to develop ways to treat diseases.”
DLM, a state-authorized nonprofit organization which strives to save and enhance lives through registering organ, eye and tissue donors also houses names of Marylanders who donate them. The organization also partners with Maryland’s MVA. Potential registered organ donors may sign up while renewing their driver’s license there. DLM testified in favor of the bill, according to Spicknall.
The Executive Director provided an example of how a researcher could study donated kidneys to better understand how to treat kidney disease. Spicknall added that any donated organ that could not be used for transplantation and therapy could be used for research and education purposes under the new law.
“I think we are seeing an increase in donors recently, which is a great sign. I feel like this (new organ donation law) is going to open up opportunities to just simply save more lives. I think we’re going to see more lives saved with the potential for research and education and studying disease and figuring out ways to treat disease. So, I think that’s what this is going to open up possibilities for,” Spicknall said.
She clarified that Marylanders who were registered donors before July 1, 2022 are limited to becoming an organ transplantation and therapy donor, through the MVA. Donors who registered before the date would need to make the “research and education purposes” donation change with renewal of a driver’s license.
But even without the new law, one organ donation can save up to eight lives. Up to 75 lives can be enhanced from a tissue donation, Spicknall said.
“Approximately 2,500 people in Maryland are on organ transplant waiting lists; there are over 106,000 people waiting for organs nationwide,” according to data shared by Maryland’s DMV.
Danette Ragin was on a transplant waiting list, while facing an end stage renal failure diagnosis, according to DLM’s website. After she was fortunate enough to receive a kidney transplant, her nephew was reportedly shot and killed several years later. His family passed along the chance for someone else to experience another chance at life, too.
And while waiting for a donated organ can be stressful for someone who needs a second chance at life, if donors in Maryland have a chance to decide how they would like their organs or tissues used, broadening options to donate could boost numbers of participants who sign up. The power of choice could resonate with more Marylanders.
Although research and education pushes are not completely new concepts, Marylanders will soon be in the position to make an informed decision about their “donated gifts.” Information provided by The Autosomal Recessive Polycystic Kidney Disease and Congenital Hepatic Fibrosis (ARPKD/CHF Alliance) mentioned that “the need for organs and tissues to be donated for medical research becomes even more important when people are suffering from a rare disease, because too often so few, if any, answers are available.”
ARPKD/CHF Alliance aspires to provide support and life improvement for individuals who are affected with specific types of kidney disease and congenital hepatic fibrosis, but the idea of donating organs and tissues for medical research was highlighted as one way to help. The National Disease Research Interchange (NDRI) is involved in handling the process.
Theoretically, Maryland’s new donation law could also help patients who are living with various diseases, since discovering new treatments and cures is a manner of making significant strides in advancing modern medicine. Due to the human body’s complexities, generous donors could positively impact medical professionals who need to learn more about caring for patients with various health needs.
When Marylanders head to the MVA in July, information about the new organ donation law must be accessible. Locations are required to prominently display educational materials about choices under the new law and provide them to “prospective donors on request,” according to Maryland House Bill 301.
Visit to learn more about DLM. Email to ask about the new law.

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