New Law Strengthens Organ Donor Registry

August 18, 2006

A new law signed by the Governor will make New York State’s Organ and Tissue Donor Registry a stronger force for increasing the number of New Yorkers who can benefit from organ donation.

As a result, New Yorkers will be able to use the state registry to give their legal consent to donate their organs and/or tissues upon their death. Currently, New York State residents can use the registry – via the Internet or space provided on driver’s license applications and renewals – to indicate their intent to donate their organs but not their consent. The change was sought by the New York Alliance for Donation.

Assemblyman Robin Schimminger, who sponsored the measure in the Assembly, said, “For the more than 100,000 New Yorkers awaiting organ and tissue transplants, their futures and their very lives depend on our finding ways to increase rates of organ donation. The Organ and Tissue Donor Registry, which was written into state law by way of legislation I sponsored, has proven its worth. Taking it a step further and allowing people to use the registry to record their legal consent for organ donation will give new hope to those who are desperately waiting.”

Under the terms of the new law, which takes effect early next year, the State Health Department will be required to contact all those who are currently on the registry and explain the new law, giving them the opportunity to change their registration. Individuals who register will be able to specify which organs and tissues they want to donate and whether they can be used for transplantation, research or both.

The measure was sponsored in the State Senate by Senator Joseph Robach.