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Today in the United States, there are more than 113,000 men, women and children on an organ transplant waiting list. Nearly 9,000 are waiting in New York State, with almost 600 from our region alone. Someone is added to the national waiting list every ten minutes and, sadly, 20 people die each day before an organ becomes available. Thousands more are in need of cornea transplants to restore vision or donated tissue to heal wounds, reduce pain and/or improve mobility.

One donor can help save the lives of up to 8 people through organ donation, provide sight to two people through cornea donation, and improve the lives of nearly 75 more through tissue donation.

Why is it important to decide and talk about organ donation?

Organ, eye and tissue donation is an end-of-life option that everyone should decide upon. Making your decision now about donation means your family won’t be burdened with having to make it for you later. It only takes a few minutes to enroll online in the New York State Donate Life Registry. Regardless of whether you chose to register as a donor or not, telling your family what your wishes are will give them peace of mind.


  • Anyone age 16 or older can enroll in the NYS Donate Life Registry at

  • There is no upper age limit to registering as an organ donor.

  • Don’t assume you aren’t healthy enough to donate. Health conditions, such as diabetes and hypertension, do not prohibit someone from registering as a donor.

  • Medical professionals and tests will determine what organs and tissues can be donated at the time of death.

  • The doctors and nurses involved in life-saving care are separate from the medical 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.

  • Enrolling in the NYS Donate Life Registry is the best place to document your wishes regarding donation.

  • Tell your family what your wishes are regarding organ donation. Making your decision now means they won’t have to make it on your behalf later.

  • Major religions support an individual’s choice to be an organ donor.

  • Final burial wishes can be honored after donation.


There are several ways to enroll in the New York State Donate Life Registry. Regardless of which method you choose, the information is sent to the state’s organ, eye and tissue donor registry database. Signing the back of your license is not enough to ensure your wishes are known.

  • Online: New York State residents can sign up to be organ, eye and tissue donors at Registering only takes a few minutes.

  • DMV: Check the “New York State Organ and Tissue Donation” box when applying for, or renewing, a Learner’s Permit, Driver’s License or Non-Driver’s ID.

  • Voter Registration Form: Check the “New York State Organ and Tissue Donation” box on the voter registration form.

  • New York State of Health – Health Insurance Exchange: Residents applying for or renewing health insurance benefits through the state have the opportunity to register as an organ, eye and tissue donor.

  • Don’t reside in New York? Go to to find out how to register as a donor in your state.

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