The team lives in Buffalo, NY and learned that New York State is ranked lowest in the country when it comes to organ donor designation sign ups. Currently, people can opt-in when they go to the DMV, online, or by mail. Roden’s bill the YCOD is proposing will instead ask donors to “opt-out,” when at the DMV, which would show more people that the default is to give the gift of life, and to say yes to joining the donor registry from the get go.
His team identified concerns with other countries’ “opt-out” systems, including the possibility that someone could be added to the registry without their knowledge and informed consent. To mitigate this, the proposed bill would only add donors at the DMV, would make the consent box the first thing seen by New Yorkers, and would require the commissioner inform New Yorkers of the change and the registry, ensuring consent. New York State’s donor registry already sends a letter to those recently added to the registry, giving New Yorkers yet another opportunity to opt-out, if they aren’t comfortable at the time. Anyone can register their preference online with the Donate Life Registry.
In 2020 New York State, only 42 percent of people signed up as organ donors, according to Donate Life of New York State. The low percentage of donors is a number that Roden hopes to change for the better. Roden says, “we got to hear the stories of people that were recipients of organ donation. My friends and I were so moved, we decided we wanted to pursue some kind of change that would increase the rate of organ donation in our state.”
Roden says New York is especially in dire need of organ transplants and he also feels contacting state representatives can help a difference to get his bill approved. “Youth, and those young at heart, can sign up to join our movement at YCOD.org, and can contact their local assembly member and senator to show their support for this bill” Roden said.
The Coalition is also working towards legislation to add comprehensive education about organ donation to New York school curriculums, to help potential donors make a decision that’s right for them.
The new bill is expected to be voted on this year. As many as 66 percent of organ donations typically go to family members. Roden’s goal is to get as many people on the organ registry as possible. No major religion in the US or abroad opposes organ donation after death, and most encourage members to speak to family members and make a decision early.
Visit www.ycod.org for more details or visit the Donate Life Registry to opt-in.
Donate Life of New York released the following statement about the efforts of the Youth Coalition for Organ Donation:
“Donate Life New York State (NYS) supports any organ and tissue donation system that enjoys the public’s confidence, honors the wishes of potential donors, and ultimately serves both to save lives and heal those in need. The passion for a brighter future embodied by these young New Yorkers is admirable, and we at Donate Life New York State wish every student shared in their commitment to this vital mission. We encourage the Legislature to explore opportunities to thoroughly examine “opt-out” approaches to donation and to evaluate its effects in those nations where this system is currently in place. Regardless of the outcome of their proposal, Donate Life NYS is grateful that a new generation of New Yorkers are thinking innovatively to identify policies in an effort to address this public health crisis, and are raising awareness about the importance of organ and tissue donation. It is critical that together we identify solutions to New York’s organ shortage as each day nearly 9,500 men, women, and children are currently waiting for a lifesaving transplant, and thousands more seek sight and health-restoring tissue transplants. Donate Life NYS stands ready to partner with New Yorkers young and old, our champions in the Legislature, and Governor Cuomo in efforts to prevent the deaths of hundreds of New York patients on the national transplant waitlist each year.”
–Aisha Tator, Executive Director Donate Life NYS
SOURCE Youth Coalition for Organ Donation (YCOD)