Organ Donation Facts

  • Age Restrictions: There is no age limit for organ donation. You must be at least 16 years or older to donate.
  • Organ donation and my health care: Your decision to become an organ/tissue 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 removed. The doctors who treat a patient at the time of death are in no way involved with those responsible for organ removal.
  • Organ donation and funeral arrangements: Organ donation does not disfigure the body or delay funeral arrangements.
  • Organ distribution: Organs and tissues are distributed through federally or state authorized regional organ and tissue banks. One of the most important things you can do when you decide to be an organ/tissue donor is to share your desire with your family. Family consent is required for organ/tissue donation.
  • Restrictions based on health of the prospective donor: Those with active cancer or active infection are not candidates for organ donation. People with hepatitis B or C may be donors. If you are HIV positive, don't rule yourself out. Doctors will make a determination at the time of a patient's death.
  • There is no cost for organ donation: There is no charge to become an organ donor for you or your family. All costs for donation are covered by the local organ procurement organization.
  • How to become an organ donor: This information pertains to New York State, but may be applicable in other states as well. There are several ways listed below for you to become an organ or tissue donor. Regardless of how you register, remember to tell your loved ones that you have made a legally binding decision to be a donor.
    • Driver's License: Check the box on your application for a new or renewed driver's license/nondriver identification card either at the Department of Motor Vehicle's offices or received by mail.
    • NY State Registry form: Download the Registry form at the New York State Department of Health web site:
    • Donate Life Registry: The recommended method to become a donor is to sign the New York State Donate Life Registry. There is less emphasis on signing your driver's license, although it is a good idea to do that if you can.
  • Changing my mind after I enroll: If you should change your mind after you enroll, you should tell your healthcare provider and your family that you have changed your mind. You should also write to the Department of Health (New York State Organ and Tissue Donor Registry, New York State Department of Health, Bureau of Standards Development, 433 River Street, Hedley Park Place, 6th Floor, Troy, New York 12180) to have your name removed from the Registry. If you signed the back of your driver's license, you should cross out the information.
  • Learn more: To learn more about organ and tissue donation, go to; call LiveOnNY at 1-800-GIFT-4-NY (443-8469); or call the New York State Organ and Tissue Donor Registry at 1-877-752-3175. Informational brochures about the Registry and organ/tissue donation are available in English and Spanish at LiveOnNY or by calling the Registry at the toll-free number listed above.

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