Facebook's new life-saving feature: Tell your friends you are an organ donor

Facebook has announced that you can now tell you friends, or the world, that you are an organ donor in the UK and the US via your Facebook Timeline.

Talked up last week by Mark Zuckerberg, and announced on Tuesday, the new feature combats the problem that although you might have decided that you want to give others your body parts when you die, your friends and family might not know.

Now as long as they check Facebook they can see what you've signed up for.

In the UK the new feature is supported by a partnership with NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) and will also let people who are not yet registered as a donor sign up to the organ donation registry. US Facebook users have a similar offering with the various states' organ donor schemes.

“Small acts of kindness happen every day on Facebook but we hope that our partnership with NHS Blood and Transplant will use the power of friendship to save lives," says Simon Milner, Director of Policy, Facebook, UK.

"More than 30 million people in the UK will be able to show on their Timeline that they are either on the organ donation register already, or can register with the NHS on their Facebook page in a few simple steps. We hope that as a result of this partnership, UK Facebook users will together be able to reduce the number of people who needlessly die waiting for an organ each year.”

In the UK a 1000 people a year die while waiting for an organ, while in the US that number is even higher (around 6,500). According to Facebook more than 114,000 people in the United States are waiting for the heart, kidney or liver transplant that will save their lives.

Users wishing to sign up or show support for the new feature can do so by going to their profile page and finding the new "Organ donor" setting under life events.