Every day, transplants bring renewed life to patients and their families and communities. A single donor can save up to eight lives through organ donation, restore sight in two people through cornea donation, and heal up to 75 others through tissue donation.
Organ donation in the United States is administered by the United Network for Organ Sharing, a non-profit, scientific and educational organization that administers the nation's only Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN), established by the U.S. Congress in 1984.
In the U.S., over 106,000 people are currently waiting for life-saving organ transplants, and over 8,000 live right here in New York.
Enrolling in the New York State Donate Life Registry means that someday your generosity could change dozens of lives. When you register online, you can choose what organs and tissues you want to donate, and you can update your status at any time. Visit New York State Donate Life for more information in English and Spanish.
There is no age limit on who can become an organ donor. However, you must be a least 16 years or older to be on the New York State Donate Life Registry.
Non-New York residents: find your state’s registry.
Most religions support organ, eye, and tissue donation. The Health Resources & Service Administration (HRSA), a U.S. government agency, has recognized NewYork-Presbyterian and its Regional Hospital Network with its Platinum award for outstanding efforts to promote donation awareness and donor registration.
Become an Organ Donor
Help save a life: sign up to become a donor today. Tell your loved ones about your legally binding decision to be a donor.
New York Residents
To register as an organ donor, enroll in the New York State Donate Life Registry.
Visit Donate Life America to add your name to your state’s registry.
Deceased Organ Donation
Deceased organ donation is the process of giving an organ or a part of an organ at the time of the donor’s death for the purpose of transplantation to another person.
Deceased Organ donation is rare: In order for a person to become an organ donor, blood and oxygen must flow through the organs until the time the organ is recovered. This requires that a person die under circumstances that have resulted in a fatal brain injury, usually from massive trauma resulting in bleeding, swelling or lack of oxygen to the brain. A person on a ventilator must pass away in a hospital for their organs to be potentially suitable for donation.
Most people become eligible for organ donation after brain death due to stroke or severe head injury, though this is not always the case. In some instances, organs can be donated after cardiovascular death.
Lifesaving organs that can be donated include heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, pancreas, and intestines.
Organ donation and my health care: Your decision to become an organ donor will have no impact on the care you receive should you fall ill. Saving each patient's life is the healthcare provider's first priority, and organ donation is considered only after every effort has been made to save the patient's life.
In addition, there are strict legal guidelines that must be carefully followed before brain death can be declared and organs recovered. The doctors who treat a patient at the time of death are in no way involved with those responsible for organ recovery.
Your family does not pay any medical costs associated with donation. NewYork-Presbyterian and LiveOnNY are separate organizations but work together: NewYork-Presbyterian doctors and other clinical staff will do everything possible to save your life. After all lifesaving efforts have been exhausted, hospitals are required by state and federal law to notify their appropriate organ recovery organization of a potential donor. NewYork-Presbyterian’s designated organ recovery organization is LiveOnNY, a federally designated organ procurement organization for the greater New York City area.
Fairness and equity in donation: The national computerized waiting list for organ donation is independently maintained by the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) and is blind to race, gender, financial or celebrity status. U.S. law prohibits the buying and selling of organs. Directed donation to a specific individual who is waiting on the transplant list is possible if the donor and recipient are a match.
Living Organ Donation
Living organ donation offers another choice for transplant candidates, and it would initiate a chain reaction. When a recipient receives a donation from a living donor, the recipient would come off the deceased organ waiting list, thus moving everybody else up on the list and potentially saving more lives.
Living organ donation was developed as a direct result of the critical shortage of deceased donors to meet all the needs of patients awaiting organ transplant. Over the last few years, transplant surgeons and other members of transplant teams throughout the country have developed new techniques and procedures to save more patients’ lives through living donor transplants. It is now possible for a living person to donate a kidney, a portion of the liver, a portion of a lung, and, in some rare instances, a portion of the pancreas. With the availability of living organ donation, patients who are able to receive a living donor transplant can receive the best quality organ much sooner, often in less than a year.
NewYork-Presbyterian’s Living Donor Transplant Program offers patients the possibility of earlier transplantation, faster recovery and better outcomes. With a living donor transplant, patients receive an organ, or portion of an organ, from a living person, such as a relative, friend, or in some cases, a stranger.
Physicians and their families choose NewYork-Presbyterian for their living donor transplant because of our reputation as one of the best programs in the US. Our living donor program achieves excellent outcomes for liver and kidney transplant recipients, which exceed the national expected outcomes. We’ve performed more living donor transplants over the last decade than any other transplant center in the country.
As a national leader in living donor transplants, our specialists pioneer new methods to increase the viability of available organs, expedite patient-donor pairings, and improve surgical outcomes.