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Why are eye, organ and tissue donations needed?

Each year nearly 50,000 Americans receive corneal transplants, hundreds of thousands more benefit from tissue donation such as skin for burn victims, while more than 121,000 individuals are waiting for organ transplants.  The need is great and without these surgeries, people will remain disabled or die.


Who can be a donor?

Anyone can decide to become a donor.  Medical history or age does not automatically exclude a person from being a donor.  Do not rule yourself out.  Suitability for donation will be determined at the time of your death by a representative from the recovery agency.  


How do I become a donor?

It's easy!  Enroll in the NY State Donate Life Registry.  Click on the link at the top of this page and follow the instructions.


What happens when I enroll in the Donate Life Registry?

By enrolling in the Donate Life Registry, you are giving legal consent for the recovery of your organs, tissues and eyes for the purposes of transplantation and research at the time of your death.  Registry information is kept strictly confidential and can only be accessed by (a)Department of Health employees when required for the performance of their official duties, (b)federally regulated organ procurement organizations, (c)New York State licensed tissue and eye banks and (d)other entities formally approved by the Commissioner.  Such access can only be for the purpose of identifying potential organ and tissue donors at or near the time of death.




Who can be a donor?

You don't have to have perfect vision to be an eye donor.  Cataracts or Lasik surgery doesn't prevent you from being a donor.  At the time of one's death, eye bank professionals will determine donor eligibility for eye donation.


How do I sign up to be a donor?

It's easy.  Simply click on the NYS Donate Life Registry link at the top of this page.  Make sure you discuss your wishes with your family.


Is there a cost to donate?

No.  There is no cost to a donor or donor's estate.


Are there religion objections to donation?

No.  Eye, organ and tissue donation are consistent with the beliefs and attitudes of major religions and support donation.


Is there a delay in funeral arrangements?

Eye/cornea recovery is performed within hours of a donor's death.  The recovery is a surgical procedure, respectful of the donor.  Great care is taken to preserve the donor's appearance.  Desired funeral arrangements may proceed without delay or interruption.


Will my medical care be compromised if they know I'm a donor?

No. Donation is only considered after all efforts to save a patient have failed and a patient has died. Saving a patient's life is the health care providers first priority.







Corneas/Whole Eyes

Corneas help restore sight to those suffering from corneal blindness due to disease, injury or infection.  Sclera, the white part of the eye, can be used as a patch if one's own sclera has been penetrated or in the treatment of glaucoma.  



Donated skin helps burn victims.  The donated skin is placed over the wound area keeping it protected from infection.



Bone is used in certain dental procedures, spinal disc surgeries and bone grafting for limb preservation.


Heart Vavles

Heart valves are used to replace those that are damaged.



The use of tendons and ligaments in surgical procedures, such as repairs to a damaged ACL, avoids the need to have one's own tissue recovered and used.


Blood Vessels
Blood vessels are provided for cardiac   bypass surgeries.



What can be donated?


Organ & Tissue Donor

can help up to

50 people 

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