New law would allow 16-year-olds to become organ donors in New York

One donor can save up to eight lives given the number of organs or organ parts that can be transferred between bodies, according to proponents of the legislation pending before Gov. Cuomo. (Buffalo News photo illustration)
ALBANY – New York State has the nation’s lowest percentage of residents signed up to donate organs upon their death, but the potential donor pool could grow by tens of thousands through a law awaiting the governor’s signature.

Advocates this week are making a last push to get Gov. Andrew Cuomo to sign a bill that would lower the age of consent from 18 to 16 for organ, eye and tissue donations. Cuomo, who has already warmed to the idea of improving organ donation participation, has a Friday deadline to sign or veto the bill.

“This is not New York being pioneering. This is not New York being bold. This is New York catching up with the rest of the nation and addressing a public health crisis,” said Aisha Tator, executive director of the New York Alliance for Donation, whose members include hospitals, transplant surgeons and pharmaceutical companies.

Legislation passed this session and sent last week to Cuomo for his consideration would drop the age when New Yorkers can sign up on a statewide registry to donate organs upon their death from 18 to 16. That wold bring New York in line with 47 other states. Parents of 16- and 17-year-olds would be notified if their child signed up to be a donor, and could revoke it until the child reaches age 18. Continue reading
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