Changing Lives Through Organ Donation
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New York Donor Registry Q&A

You’d like to enroll in the New York State Donate Life Registry. So, what do you have to do? This Q&A section will answer many of your questions.


Q&A Image

Q: Is it enough just to sign the back of my New York driver’s license?

It’s a good idea to sign the back of your driver’s license as you’re definitely stating you want to be an organ donor. The problem is, if the situation arises where you can give the gift of life it may be difficult to locate your driver’s license or non-driver ID card. If your card isn’t found, nobody will know about your important decision. So your generosity will be in vain and lives will be lost.

Q: If signing my driver’s license isn’t enough, what should I do?

Good question! The key is to enroll in the New York State Donate Life Registry. It’s the official registry in our state. When you enroll, you are legally consenting to donating organs, eyes and tissues. No one else can reverse your decision.

Q: Does it mean that signing the back of my license doesn’t enroll me in the registry?

That’s correct.

Q: How old do I have to be to enroll in the New York State Donate Life Registry?

You have to be at least 18. After that age it doesn’t matter how old you are because people in their 90s have been healthy enough to donate organs.

Q: Okay, then how can I enroll in the New York State Donate Life Registry?

There are numerous ways to do so. One way is to sign up at the DMV office when you go there to apply for or to renew, your driver’s license or non-driver ID. There’s a question on the driver’s application form that asks whether you wish to enroll in the New York State Donate Life Registry. Once you answer “yes” and have registered, you’ll receive an acknowledgement in the mail. If you are receiving a new driver’s license card, the words “organ donor” and a red heart symbol will be printed on the front of it at no extra cost.

Q: What if I don’t need to go to the DMV any time soon? I already have a driver’s license or non-driver ID, and now I want to become a donor. Can I enroll online in the registry?

You can enroll online in the Donate Life Registry if you have a New York driver’s license or non-driver ID card. To begin, you will be asked to create a MyDMV account  on the New York State DMV website. In this secure section, you will need your New York State driver’s license, learner permit or non-driver ID and your social security number.  The secure sign-up also gives you access to other MyDMV services, and services from other New York State agencies.

My NYS DMV Organ Donor Registry Enrollment

Create a MyDMV account and then enroll electronically with the the New York State Donate Life Registry.

Q: If I don’t have a driver’s license or non-driver ID, can I still register online without using MyDMV?

You can download a form online, complete and sign it, and  mail it in. This form is available on the New York State Department of Health’s website. Your registration isn’t effective until your signed consent form is received.

Q: What if I don’t want to enroll online? Is there a way I can get hold of an enrollment form some other way and mail it in?

There are two ways to sign up without going to any website: First, you can download this Donor Registry PDF form, fill it in, sign and mail it in to the York State Department of Health. Second, you can request that a donor registry form be mailed to you. You can do so by contacting Amy James at Finger Lakes Donor Recovery Network.  Email Amy James or call her on 585-272-4930.

Q: Is it true I can enroll as an organ donor when I register to vote in New York State?

Yes, this is a relatively new way of being able to do. Next time you register to be a voter in New York, there’s a section where you can enroll as an organ donor (PDF).

Q: Should I tell my family members that I have enrolled?

You’re strongly encouraged to inform them of your legally-binding decision to donate.

Q: What if I change my mind after I enroll?

We hope you won’t ever feel the need to do so, but should you wish to remove your name from the registry, you can.

Q: After I enroll in the registry, how can I fulfill my decision to save lives?

Authorized personnel at hospitals and those affiliated with organ procurement organizations have access to the confidential database. They would confirm your registration. If you haven’t told your loved ones about your enrollment, your life-saving decision will provide a great deal of comfort to them. Also, they won’t need to make a choice on your behalf at a very difficult moment in their lives.


Contact Finger Lakes Donor Recovery Network’s Amy James: Email Amy James  (Amy_Jamesaturmcdotrochesterdotedu)   or call her on 585-272-4930.





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