Organ and tissue donation saves lives. That is the simple truth. Right now there are 1,600 people waiting for their life-saving second chance, a transplant. By becoming an organ donor you could one day change the lives of up to 10 people. Register as an organ donor today and discuss your decision with your family. You could one day save a life.

The Facts

  • One organ and tissue donor can transform the lives of 10 or more people
  • Australia is a world leader for successful transplant outcomes, but we still have a long way to go
  • Around 1,600 people are on the transplant waiting list at any one time
  • In 2014, 378 organ donors gave 1,117 Australians a new chance in life.
  • The majority of Australians are generally willing to become organ (76%) and tissue (76%) donors.
  • Less than 1% of people die in hospital in the specific circumstances where organ donation is possible.
  • In Australia the family of every potential donor will be asked to confirm the donation decision of their loved one before donation can proceed.
  • In Australia more than 60% of families give consent for organ and tissue donation to proceed.
  • Of the 51% of Australians that know the donation decisions of their loved ones, 94% would uphold these decisions.
  • We encourage all Australians to register their donation decision on the Australian Organ Donor Register and to discuss their donation decision with family members.

Living Donors

In some instances kidney transplant recipients receive a kidney donation from a living donor. This is usually a friend or family member, but altruistic kidney donation is an option in most states in Australia.

To find out information on becoming a living kidney donor visit our Donor Family and Living Donor Page.

Living Donors

The Myths

Organ donation is against my religion

Reality: Most religions support organ and tissue donation as generous acts that benefit people. This includes Christianity, Islam, huddhism, Hinduism and Judaism. If you are not sure whether your religion is supportive, speak to your religious adviser. You can also read or download a fact sheet on organ and tissue donation in relation to all the major religions at www.donatelife.gov.au.

I’m too old, too young or not healthy enough to donate

Reality: Almost any one can donate their organs and tissue. While your age and medical history will be considered, you shouldn’t assume you are too old, too young or not healthy enough. There’s every chance that some of your organs and tissues will be suitable for donation.

My family won’t be able to view my body

Reality: Yes they will. The removal of organs and tissue is no different from any other surgical operation, and is performed by highly skilled health professionals. The donor’s body is always treated with dignity and respect. The donation of organs and tissue does not alter the physical appearance of the body, and your family will be able to view your body and have an open casket if they wish.

I’ve already registered. I don’t need to tell my family

Reality: You do need to discuss your decision with your family and friends, even if you have registered on the Australian Organ Donor Register. Donation won’t proceed without your family’s consent. Families are less

likely to give consent for donation if they do not know the wishes of the deceased. That’s why every family is encouraged to discuss and know each other’s wishes.

Doctors won’t work as hard to save my life if they know I’m a donor

Reality: Not so. Medical staff do everything possible to save lives. Their first duty is to you and saving your life. Organ and tissue donation will only be considered after all efforts fail and you have been legally declared dead.

I don’t need to donate my organs because thousands of others do

Reality: Few people die in such a way that donation is possible. Organ donors must die in hospital where their body can be medically supported until the organs can be donated. There are some 1600 Australians on official waiting lists at any one time.

People only need organs because of bad lifestyle choices

Reality: Many people have an inherited genetic condition, a severe illness or disease that will kill them, often at a young age. Common genetic conditions are cardiomyopathy (which affects the heart), cystic fibrosis (the lungs) and biliary atresia (the liver). Corneal transplants restore sight to people following a disease or damage to their eyes. Heart valves are used to repair congenital defects in young children and replace defective valves due to disease such as rheumatic fever, degeneration and infection.

There won’t be any support for my family

Reality: The Intensive Care Unit team caring for you and the DonateLife Agency Donor Coordinator and Donor Family Support Coordinator give the family as much support as they need during and after the decision to donate. Families considering organ and tissue donation will also have access to free bereavement counselling.

My organs and tissue will be used for research

Reality: Organ donation is about helping save or improve other people’s lives. Donated tissues and organs will never be used for medical research unless explicit written permission is given by your family.