The Gift of Life
More than one life is lost each week waiting for a transplant. More than 1,600 Australians are currently on the transplant waiting list. Prior to 2011, for 20 years Australia had on average of just 200 organ donors each year. In Australia the final decision about organ donation rests with the potential donor’s family – regardless of the wishes of the donor. According to the International Registry of Organ Donation & Transplantation, Australia is currently ranked 17th in the world.
The decision to become a donor can be an emotional one, often bringing deep seated fears around grief and death to the surface. Many families would rather avoid such a discussion. However, not all donors are deceased; living donors are able to be matched for bone marrow, kidney and liver transplants. Strict medical and legal criteria apply before a living donation can proceed. There must be no evidence of coercion, monetary payment or reward and the donor must have full knowledge of the risks and benefits of the donation.
If you are interested in knowing more about organ or tissue donation, the website of the Organ and Tissue Authority offers a range of resources for individuals and families. (www.donatelife.gov.au)
Established in 2009, the Organ and Tissue Authority is responsible for steering a nationally coordinated approach to organ and tissue donation for transplantation. Since its establishment, 5802631 have recorded their decision about becoming an organ or tissue donor on the DonateLife registry.
Did you know?
Each donor can save or enhance the lives of 10 or more people.
• Although Australia is a world leader for successful transplant outcomes, it has one of the lowest donation rates in the developed world.
• Around 1600 people are on Australian organ transplant waiting lists.
• In 2011, 337 organ donors gave 1001 Australians a new chance in life - highest number of donors recorded.
• In Australia the family will always be asked to confirm the donation wishes of the deceased before donation for transplantation can proceed.
• The majority of Australians are generally willing to become organ (79%) and tissue (76%) donors.
• Australia’s family consent rate is low, with less than 60% of families giving consent for organ and tissue donation to proceed.
• The most important thing that helps a family’s decision is knowing the wishes of their loved one.
• 43% of Australians do not know or are not sure of the donation wishes of their loved ones.
• The quality of care for a potential donor at the end of his or her life, and the wishes of their family, is always the foremost consideration of those involved, and is never compromised by the potential for organ, eye and tissue donation.