The NY State Department of Motor Vehicles and the NY Department of Health are making it easier for New Yorkers to enroll in the state’s organ and tissue donor registry.
Right now, 2.7 million New Yorkers are registered as organ donors. That might seem like a lot, but that number represents only 18 percent of the possible donors in the state. The national average is 42 percent.
It is said that one organ donor can save up to eight lives and improve the lives of up to 50 people by donating tissues. Some people may not be aware that on the back every New York State license is the option to sign and be considered an organ donor at the time of death. All you have to do is sign; however, this is only one part of ensuring your organs are donated.
By enrolling online, those who attend your death can check this database and know your wishes. It is also important to talk to your family members and your doctor so they can ensure that your organs are used.
Under state law, the New York State Organ and Tissue Donor Registry, or Donate Life Registry, can only be accessed to determine an individual’s donation status after death and only by a federally approved organ procurement organization or licensed eye and tissue bank. Enrolling to be an organ donor will not affect one’s medical care and/or funeral arrangements, and there is no cost to the donor’s family. Anyone over age 18 can sign up to be a potential organ donor, regardless of their medical history.
Organs for life-saving transplants include heart, liver, kidneys, lungs, pancreas, and small intestine.
Those who register through the website do not need to print, sign and mail their registration application to the New York State Department of Health, which maintains the Donate Life Registry. Customers still can sign up by mail or at any DMV office.
Here are some important facts about organ donation, according to the Donate Life website:
- There are very few medical conditions that would automatically disqualify you from donating any organs and tissues so don’t disqualify yourself. It may turn out that while certain organs are not suitable for transplant, other organs and tissues are fine.
- Although it is important to join a donor registry and indicate that you are an organ donor on your driver’s license, it is equally important to speak with your family, friends, and doctors about your decision so that they are aware of your wishes.
- Your medical history is more important than your age. Organs have been transplanted from donors in their 70s and 80s and even 92-year-olds have donated their livers in the United States.
- Although you must be 18 years of age to sign up on the New York State Donate Life Registry, parents or guardians can authorize this decision for their children who would like to register.
- Donating an organ will in no way delay funeral arrangements or change any funeral plans.
- Open casket viewing is possible after any type of donation.
Register now at www.dmv.ny.gov.