General Information on Organ, Eye and Tissue Donation

The need for organ, eye and tissue donors is great. In the United States, there are more than 120,000 people that need organ transplants. Each year, thousands of people die because a donor can’t be found for them. You can help.

You have the power to Donate Life. All New Yorkers 16 years old and up can register to save lives by signing up as an organ and tissue donor. By joining the New York State Donate Life Registry, you record your decision to be a donor. Your kindness could save eight lives through organ donation, restore sight with cornea donations and improve 75 more lives with tissue. It is easy to register and you can give someone a second chance at life.

It is illegal to give organs/tissues to a person based on wealth, citizenship or celebrity status. It is illegal to buy or sell organs and tissue in the United States.


There are almost 10,000 New Yorkers that need a life-saving organ transplant.

New Yorkers make up 10% of the national organ transplant waiting list.

Each year, almost 500 New Yorkers die because an organ does not come in time to save their lives


One organ donor can save 8 lives and help 75 more by donating tissue and corneas.

People any age and medical history can potentially be organ and tissue donors. There are no diseases that automatically prevent you from being a donor.

All major religions support organ and tissue donation.

There is no cost to a donor’s family for organ and tissue donation.


Donated organs, including the heart, pancreas, kidneys, liver, lungs, and intestines can save someone’s life.

Tissue is used to replace bone, tendons, and ligaments lost to trauma, cancer and other diseases.

Corneas are used to restore sight.

Skin grafts help burn patients heal, and often can save their life.

Heart valves repair heart defects and damage.

A living donor can give a kidney, one lung, a part of a liver, lung or pancreas.


Consent for donation is confirmed by enrollment in the NYS Donate Life Registry, by family or the person with the power to make decisions for the potential donor.

Family might be asked to give information about the patient’s medical and personal history.

Organ and tissue recovery require surgery.

Donation does not usually change funeral arrangements, and an open casket is possible.

Organs are matched to people using medical information like blood type, body size and tissue. Recipients are found on a national waiting list operated by the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS).