Ages 16-17 are now eligible to sign up for the state Donate Life Registry when they register to vote or visit their local Department of Motor Vehicles.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation into law in 2016 that enables individuals ages 16-17 to register their intent as part of the Donate Life database.
“Allowing young adults younger than 18 to express their desire to make a lifesaving donation is critical to expanding the New York State Organ Donation Registry and saving lives,” said Adam Bello, Monroe County clerk. “Many young people who visit our office for a learner’s permit won’t be presented with another opportunity to enroll until their first driver’s license renewal eight years down the road. That eight-year gap effectively keeps thousands of potential donors off the registry. This is a giant step forward to filling that gap. Our staff is going to make a serious effort to make sure that everyone visiting a Monroe County DMV is making an informed decision on organ donation.”
The minimum age required for enrollment before the legislation was 18. The law removes barriers for young adults to sign up as an organ and tissue donor.
While the new rules allow 16- and 17-year-olds to enroll, parents retain the rights to notification and final authorization until the enrollees turn 18. To help promote the new rules, the Monroe County Clerk’s Office and the Finger Lakes Donor Recovery Network have teamed up to provide both DMV staff at county Auto License Bureau locations and members of the public visiting these offices with information about the changes and why organ donation is critical to saving lives and restoring health. DMV staff will receive new training on information necessary for license and ID applicants.
Nearly 10,000 New Yorkers are on the national organ transplant waitlist, and 1,800 of these individuals have been waiting for more than five years.
FLDRN is the link between patients awaiting transplants and donors. It coordinates organ and tissue donations while working closely with 36 hospitals in its 20-county service area to ensure that the organ donor decisions of area residents, in consultation with their families, are carried out at the time of death.
“We are excited about this life-changing legislation officially coming into effect, and we applaud Gov. Cuomo and our representatives in the Legislature for their work in passing this important law,” said Rob Kochik, executive director of FLRDN. “New York now joins 48 other registries in which young adults younger than 18 have the option to document their wishes about organ, eye and tissue donation.”
Monroe County Auto License Bureau offices issued 41,217 new permits, licenses and IDs and renewed another 26,307 in 2016; 17,037 of the new documents issued were permits. Permits are largely issued to newly eligible 16- and 17-year-olds.
For information, call 585-272-430 or visit donorrecovery.org.