Why Should I Be a Donor?
Organ Donation is an important advance directive that is often overlooked. While 95% of adults in the U.S. say they support organ donation, only 58% are registered organ donors, as of 2019. By becoming an organ donor, you can help save and transform the lives of others. Up-to-date statistics on organ donation are found here.
- 1 organ donor can save up to 8 lives.
- Every 9 minutes another name is added to the national organ transplant waiting list.
- Sadly, an average of 17 people die each day* because the organs they need are not donated in time.
- *More than 6,200 candidates died in 2018 while on the wait list, or within 30 days of leaving the list for personal or medical reasons, without receiving an organ transplant.
As of April 2020, more than 112,000 men, women and children were on the national transplant waiting list. Each year, the number of people on the waiting list for a transplant continues to grow at a faster rate than the number of donors and available transplants. (source: organ donor.gov DHHS). As per UNOS, approximately every 10 minutes another name is added to the national transplant waiting list and an average of 20 people on the wait list die each day because they did not receive a transplant in time.
Per the Finger Lakes Donor Recovery Network, New York State has a low organ donation rate. As of January 7th 2019, only 35% of the population age 16 years and older in New York were registered organ donors, compared to 58% nationally. Approximately 9,465 people in New York need organ transplants.
One of the best ways to motivate yourself to register as an organ donor is through personal stories that demonstrate how organ donation transforms the lives of others. Mary Jane’s personal story on this page demonstrates the importance of considering organ donation. Additional inspiring stories of individuals across the country illustrate the value of organ donation. To hear their personal experiences, visit Personal Stories of Organ Donation at organdonor.gov.
Facts About Organ Donation
- Anyone age 16 or older can enroll in the NYS Donate Life Registry.
- There is no upper age limit to registering as an organ donor.
- Don’t assume you aren’t healthy enough to donate. Medical conditions, such as diabetes and hypertension, do not prohibit someone from registering as a donor.
- Medical professionals and tests determine what organs and tissues can be donated at the time of death.
- The doctors and nurses involved in life-saving care are different from the doctors and team of professionals who perform organ transplants.
- Only authorized organ and tissue recovery specialists (not doctors or nurses in the hospital) have access to the confidential donor registries. A person’s registration status is only checked at the time of death.
- Major religions support an individual’s choice to be an organ donor.
- Final burial wishes can be honored after donation. Enrolling in the NYS Donate Life Registry is the best place to document your wishes regarding donation.
How Do I Register as an Organ Donor?
Organ donor registration happens at the state level. For information on how to become an organ donor, visit organdonor.gov and search for your state.
In New York, everyone 16 years and older can register as an organ, eye, and tissue donor. When you register as a donor in the New York State Donate Life Registry, you agree to donate your organs after you die. This is a legal document ensuring the person’s wish to be a donor is carried out.
There are many ways to join the New York State Donate Life Registry that are outlined on Become an Organ Donor.
- Sign up at the NYSDMV when applying for or renewing a learner permit, driver license or non-driver ID. When you enroll at the DMV, a heart and the words “Organ Donor” appear on these documents. Signing the back of your license does not enroll you in the New York State Donate Life Registry.
- Enroll on NYSDMVs’ MyDMV Online site. When you apply, or renew a learner permit, driver license or non-driver ID online, the heart symbol and the words “Organ Donor” will appear on these documents.
- Enroll at an IDNYC Enrollment Center when you apply for or renew an IDNYC government-issued identification card. The words “Organ Donor” will be on your IDNYC identification card.
- Enroll when registering to vote. Complete and sign page 3 of the voter registration form.
NY State of Health Marketplace
- Through the New York State of Health Official Health Plan Marketplace when applying for health insurance.
- Download, complete and mail or email the paper form.
- Complete a paper enrollment form provided by an organ procurement organization (OPO) or state licensed eye and tissue bank found in the Resources section of the DonateLife.ny.gov website.
What is the Difference Between Intent and Consent?
- If you enrolled in the New York State Donate Life Registry before July 2008, please take a moment to rejoin. Prior to July 2008, you registered your intention to donate. Your family still had to give permission for donation to occur.
- If you enrolled in the Registry after 2008, your family will be told of your decision and given information about the process but their permission is not needed for the donation to proceed.
- If a 16 or 17 year old is in the Registry, it alerts their parents or legal guardians to their wishes. They, the parents or legal guardians, have the final say regarding whether donation can occur in this situation.
- Once an individual turns 18, their consent to donate can only be reversed by him or herself.
Talk to Your Family and Loved Ones
Tell your family and loved ones your wishes regarding organ donation. Making your decision now means they won’t have to make it on your behalf later.
When completing your advance directive, remember to include organ donor registration and have a conversation with your loved ones about what matters most to you. These conversations help reduce stress, uncertainty and family conflict for your loved ones during a very difficult time. By registering as an organ donor, you ensure your wishes are honored, remove the burden of decision-making from your loved ones and provide a life transforming gift to others.
Organ Donation Myths and Facts
General Information on Organ, Eye and Tissue Donation
What Can Be Donated
Organ Procurement Organizations
United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS)
Finger Lakes Donor Recovery Network
Donate Life New York FAQs