The Saskatchewan government has launched an organ and tissue donor registry in an effort to improve donation rates and reduce transplant waitlists.

The registry, which is available at www.givelifesask.ca, lets residents 16 years or older make a formal declaration to become an organ and tissue donor if they choose to do so.

“This is an important day for our government in fulfilling a key commitment to improve organ and tissue donation rates in Saskatchewan,” said Health Minister Jim Reiter, in a news release.

Reiter encouraged people to register their intent to donate, saying it can help save lives.

The government said one tissue donor can help 75 people, and one organ donor can save eight lives. Registering as a donor is the only secure and guaranteed way for people to make their decision known.

“Every person who registers increases the chance of a longer, better life for people waiting for a transplant,” said Dr. Joann Kawchuk, the Saskatchewan Health Authority Medical Director for Donation, in a news release.

“With this organ and tissue donor registry, we have another way to support grieving families by confirming the intentions of their loved ones,” she said.

Blaine Pho, who has been advocating for an organ donation registry, said it’s a gift to give life.

He said his wife, Michelle, was left with irreversible kidney damage after fighting lupus for 10 years.

“There just aren’t that many donors and it’s very difficult knowing the person you love needs a kidney and there is nothing you can do,” he said. “If this decision is right for you and you decide to be an organ donor, be sure to let those close to you know so your family will support your final wishes.”