Be a lifesaving organ donor

Commonly Asked Questions

The decision to register as an organ donor is personal and can require additional thought and reflection. Here you will find answers to some of your questions.

There are nearly 10,000 children and adults on the New York organ transplant waiting list. On average, one New Yorker dies each day because the organ they needed did not come soon enough. These people are our family, friends and neighbors. We can help them by saying yes to organ donation.

What is the organ donation process?

Non-living donation only happens once someone has died and can only be done with consent by you prior to your passing or by your family after your passing. LiveOnNY works with hospitals to carry out a person’s wishes to be an organ donor after their death. We also work with families who choose to give the gift of life on behalf of a deceased love one if that loved one was not a registered organ donor. Once someone consents to being an organ donor, a surgery is performed to recover organs from the donor. They are then transplanted to someone in need in order to help save their life.

Can I trust that the process is fair?

Organ, eye and tissue donation are highly regulated processes that ensure fairness and equity. The hospital where a person receives care and the organizations that maintain the organ donation registry, facilitate organ and tissue donation, and maintain the transplant waiting list are all separate entities. This is to ensure that there is no conflict of interest and that no part of the process can be influenced. Matching organ donors to transplant recipients is solely based on health factors and cannot be altered by factors such as race, economic status, or celebrity status.

Will doctors work as hard to save my life?

Doctors, nurses, paramedics and other hospital personnel are legally obligated to do everything in their power to save a patient’s life. LiveOnNY is a separate organization that works with families to facilitate organ donation only after a patient is deemed terminal. At no point will your care be compromised if you are a registered organ donor, or if your family has decided to donate your organs after your death.

Does my religion support organ donation?

Major religions celebrate organ donation as an opportunity to save lives and view it as a final act of kindness. The blessings associated with saving a life are also held in higher esteem than the religious laws surrounding burial. We encourage you to speak with your faith leader if you have additional questions. Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, Islam and Catholicism have all stated approval for organ donation when done with the intention of saving lives.

Stories of living on

Shelby was born with a rare heart condition and needed a heart transplant at age 10. Thanks to a selfless gift from an organ donor, she is able to pursue her career in medicine and is thankful for every day.

Meet Shelby

Lauren Thumbnail
At age 12, Lauren was diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and is currently on the waiting list for a new heart. She dreams of the day she has the energy to run at the park with her young daughter or teach her to throw a softball.

Meet Lauren

In July 2010, an accident took Michael’s life. But that wasn’t the end of Michael’s story. Michael saved five lives through organ donation and his legacy lives on through them.

Meet Michael


Living donation

Living donation is the way the medical profession refers to donating an organ to someone in need while the donor is living. Living donors may donate a kidney, a part of the liver and in some rare cases, a portion of the pancreas, intestine and a lung.

Who can donate?

Most living donors are over the age of 18 and are compatible with the intended transplant candidate. Since some donor health conditions can prevent the donation and transplant from being successful, it is important for candidates to share all information about their physical and mental health with doctors and medical staff during the evaluation process.

Living donors should be in good overall physical and mental health and free from uncontrolled high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, and active substance abuse.

How can I find out if I'm a match for someone?

Living donors and potential recipients are matched by blood type and tissue type; physical size and age are also taken into consideration. Gender and ethnicity are not factors in matching patients, although some matches are more frequent within certain ethnic groups. Contact a transplant center in your area for more information.

What is the process like for living donation?

To be considered as a living donor, a transplant center will need to conduct a psychosocial and medical evaluation. These tests are important to protect the donor and ensure the success of the transplant. The type of tests that will likely be conducted include: blood, urine, chest x-ray, CT scan or MRI, gynecological, and cancer screening. The evaluation process will help the donor understand all aspects of donation and will also highlight the medical and psychological risks.

Hospital stays and recovery time estimates vary on a case by case basis. Generally, as a kidney donor, one could expect to stay in the hospital for two to three days post-surgery. Most kidney donors resume normal activities after two to four weeks depending on the physical demands of daily life and work. As a liver donor, one could expect to stay in the hospital up to a week or longer in some cases. The liver typically regrows to normal size in two months. Most liver donors return to work and normal activities within three months.