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DonateLife Week - national awareness week to promote organ and tissue donation in Australia - Action Pack>


One donor can transform the lives of up to 10 people and significantly improve the lives of many more. People of any age regardless of gender, ethnicity or religion can one day need a life-transforming or life-saving transplant. Around 1,500 people are on Australian organ transplant waiting lists at any one time.

Very few people – less than 1 per cent – will die in hospital in the specific circumstances where organ donation is possible. Many more have the opportunity to donate tissue.

The majority of Australians are both willing to become organ and tissue donors and know that family confirmation is required for donation to take place. To optimise every potential organ and tissue donor every Australian family needs to ask and know their loved ones’ donation decisions.

Although three in four Australians have discussed the subject with family members, only 53% of people know their loved ones’ donation decisions. Importantly, 96% of those who do know their loved ones’ donation decision say they would uphold their decision.

This short video on organ and tissue donation will help you make an informed decision.

DonateLife™  An Australian Government Initiative
DISCOVER facts on organ & tissue donation
Make an informed choice DECIDE to become a donor
DISCUSS your decision with those close to you

REGISTER your decision with Australian Organ Donor Register> or freecall 1800 777 203
Register, update or remove contact information> or contact any Medicare Service Centre

Recording your decision on the Australian Organ Donor Register is voluntary. You must be 16 years or older to register. The Donor Register allows authorised medical staff check your donation decision from anywhere in Australia, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They can give this information to your family if you die. Family consent is always needed before donation can go ahead.

Kidney Health Australia completely supports ‘The Declaration of Istanbul on Organ Trafficking and Transplant Tourism’
(the Declaration) which includes condemning the practice of buying and selling organs for transplantation and other illegal activities related to transplant tourism. Our position statement can be read at Policy and Advocacy> 

For more detail on illegal practices of transplant commercialism, organ trafficking and transplant tourism:

Everyone has their own reasons for deciding whether to become an organ and tissue donor. It is important that the people close to you understand those reasons.
  • Your family need to know your decision because they will be asked to give consent.
  • Families that know each member's donation decisions, are more likely to uphold them.
  • Families that do not know the wishes of the deceased are much less likely to agree to donation.

What is Organ and Tissue donation?
Organ donation is a medical procedure. It involves removing organs and tissue from a donor and transplanting them into someone who, in many cases, is very ill or dying. The donation saves life or significantly improves quality of life. Most transplants occur when the donor dies. In some cases living donors may give one of their kidneys or part of their liver to a recipient.
Australia has a world class reputation for successful transplant outcomes. One organ and tissue donor can transform the lives of up to ten people and significantly improve the lives of dozens more:

  • a lung transplant can save the life of a child
  • a kidney transplant can mean a person no longer needs to spend several hours, several times a week, hooked up to a dialysis machine, and
  • a corneal transport can give the gift of sight.

In Australia you can donate your organs - heart, lungs, liver, kidneys and pancreas - and tissues - heart valves and pericardium, corneal and eye tissue, bone and related musculoskeletal tissue and skin.

Specialised health professionals assess each person at the time of death to decide which organs and tissue are suitable for donation.

You don't need your organs in Heaven, but we sure can use them here!

Mythbusting Organ Donation

  • While your age and medical history will be considered, you shouldn’t assume you’re too young, too old or not healthy enough to become a donor.
  • All major religions support organ and tissue donation and transplantation.
  • The aged and people with chronic health conditions can be donors. Only a few medical conditions preclude donation of organs.
  • People can also donate a kidney or part of their liver while they are still alive, though this is usually restricted to those wanting to transform the life of someone they know.
  • A donor's gift and a patient's hopes are in good hands. Australia has a world class reputation for successful transplant outcomes.

Indigenous Australians: Have you had a yarn with your mob about organ and tissue donation?
These education resources will help you consider this decision and include 6 radio plays, multimedia resources and other support information.

Multicultural Resources: Find information by language, faith or culture on organ donation
Resources have been developed in consultation with religious and cultural leaders, for people of Jewish, Hindu, Orthodox, Buddhist, Islamic and Catholic faith. Resources also available in Vietnamese, Chinese (traditional) Greek, Italian, Spanish, Arabic, Hindi, Turkish and English. Read more>

School Education Resources for Teachers
These resources on organ and tissue donation for transplantation are for Year 8 and Year 9 students and produced by the Organ and Tissue Authority in partnership with Australian Curriculum Studies Association and are aligned with their learning descriptions in the Australian Curriculum. More here>

Updated 21 August 2015

  The material contained on this site does not constitute medical advice. It is intended for information purposes only. Published by Kidney Health Australia. Privacy Policy. For information about website content please contact the National Communications Manager.

© 2008 Kidney Health Australia

Last updated: Oct 2015.