Albany, NY - August 18, 2016 - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today signed legislation (S.5313-A/A.4990-B) authorizing sixteen and seventeen years olds to make organ donations upon their death. The legislation includes appropriate safeguards that enable parents or legal guardians to rescind the decision if the minor dies before age 18.
"With thousands of New Yorkers still waiting for the gift of life, we continue to focus on making organ and tissue donations available to all those in need," Governor Cuomo said. "By authorizing 16 and 17 year olds to make the selfless decision to become an organ donor, we take another significant step to grow the state's Donate Life registry and create opportunities to save lives."
Current law provides that the minimum age to make an anatomical gift in New York State is 18. As such, New Yorkers who apply for a learner's permit at age 16 or 17 cannot register for the New York State Donate Life Registry. By allowing 16 and 17 year olds to register, New York is opening up the registry to an entirely new population which will subsequently increase donation rates.
Senator Kemp Hannon said, "I want to thank Governor Cuomo for signing this important legislation into law and ensuring that 16 and 17 year olds throughout this state are able to take the heroic step of becoming organ donors. Right now, there are so many New Yorkers in need of this lifesaving gift and this law plays an important role in expanding New York State's Donate Life Registry so ill New Yorkers can be connected with the organs they so desperately need."
Assembly Assistant Speaker Felix W. Ortiz said, "Many young adults would like to be able to become an organ and tissue donor. This law will allow New Yorkers 16 years and older to enroll in New York's Donate Life Registry. Parents will, of course, still be able to provide final authorization. New York is in the midst of a public health crisis where the need for organs for transplant far exceeds the supply. The state can now reach out to more people and do a better job to promote organ donation. One single organ donor can save the lives of 8 people. I am pleased that this will now become state law."