New York State Departments of Health and Motor Vehicles Urge New Yorkers to Register as Organ Donors During National Donate Life Month in April

Over 8,000 New Yorkers are Awaiting a Lifesaving Transplant

State Landmarks to be Lit Blue and Green on April 14 in Recognition of Donate Life Blue & Green Day

ALBANY, N.Y. (April 14, 2023) – The New York State Department of Health and the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles are encouraging New Yorkers to give the gift of life by becoming organ, eye, and tissue donors through the NYS Donate Life Registry in recognition of National Donate Life Month in April.

"The decision to become an organ donor was an easy one for me to make knowing that if my life cannot be saved, I can give people waiting for a transplant a renewed chance at a richer, fuller, healthier life," Acting State Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald said. "With so many people awaiting lifesaving organ transplants, I urge New Yorkers to become organ, eye, and tissue donors by enrolling in the NYS Donate Life Registry, today."

State DMV Commissioner Mark J.F. Schroeder said, "We at DMV are committed to working with our partners at the Department of Health and Donate Life NYS to grow the number of registered organ donors. The need is great, and the enrollment process is straightforward, quick and easy. I urge all New Yorkers to join the Registry so that lives can be saved."

New Yorkers make up nearly 8% of the national organ transplant waiting list, with a new person added to the list every nine minutes. Despite the 3,396 transplants performed in the State last year, almost 400 New Yorkers died because the organ they needed was not available in time, according to the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network. Nationally, 17 people die each day while waiting for a transplant match, according to the federal Health Resources and Services Administration.

The Department of Health is partnering with the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, donation advocates and transplant recipients across the state to encourage New Yorkers to join the NYS Donate Life Registry for organ, eye, and tissue donation.

Any New Yorker aged 16 and older is eligible to enroll in the Registry. Currently, New York has the second lowest percentage of eligible residents enrolled as donors in the Registry, with 46.45% eligible State residents enrolled to be a donor. Donors can determine what they want to give, including specific organs and tissues, as well as identify whether the donation is for transplant, research, or both. Organ donors may save the lives of as many as eight people, while eye and tissue donors can improve the health and lives of others.

New Yorkers can enroll to be organ donors in a variety of ways in addition todirectly through the New York State Donate Life Registry:

The Registry database is confidential and individuals can access their registration at any time to make changes. Frequently asked questions about organ donation and the Registry can be found here.

DMV also offers Donate Life custom license plates to raise awareness and support critical research. When a New Yorker orders the plate, $20 of the annual fee is directed to the "Life Pass It On Trust Fund," which is used for organ donation and transplant research and educational programs promoting organ and tissue donation. In addition, since 2020, New Yorkers have had the opportunity to contribute to the Fund when filing their income taxes.

Additionally, New Yorkers have the option of becoming an organ donor when applying for various licenses or certifications from the Department of State, as well as the Department of Health. Those seeking licenses through Department of Environmental Conservation online portal will also soon be able to join the Registry as part of that process.

Donate Life New York State Executive Director Aisha Tator said,"On behalf of the thousands of New Yorkers waiting for a lifesaving transplant, we applaud the Departments of Health and Motor Vehicles for their leadership and support of Donate Life NYS' mission to increase organ, eye, and tissue donation. There are more New Yorkers waiting for an organ to save their life than there are organs available. Donate Life NYS is proud to partner with New York State Departments of Health and Motor Vehicles to address this public health crisis by finding new and innovative ways for New Yorkers to register as donors and implement strategies to increase the availability of donated organs and tissues for those who desperately need them."

During National Donate Life Blue & Green Day, the public is encouraged to wear blue and green to promote the importance of registering as an organ, eye, and tissue donor. The State is also promoting organ donation in honor of the more than 8,000 New Yorker's awaiting a transplant, and the countless others depending on the availability of a tissue transplant, by illuminating these landmarks in blue and green this evening:

  • One World Trade Center
  • Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge
  • Kosciuszko Bridge
  • The H. Carl McCall SUNY Building
  • State Education Building
  • Alfred E. Smith State Office Building
  • Empire State Plaza
  • State Fairgrounds – Main Gate & Expo Center
  • Grand Central Terminal - Pershing Square Viaduct
  • Albany International Airport Gateway
  • Fairport Lift Bridge over the Erie Canal
  • Moynihan Train Hall

To learn more about organ donation, visit here.