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Making the decision to Donate Life

Lifestyle — Posted 02/08/16

Organ and tissue donations save and transform lives. This Donate Life Week, discuss with your loved ones what you want to do, and register your decision on the Australian Organ Donor Register.

Organ donation can be uncomfortable to think and talk about. None of us want to imagine being in a position where we – or our loved ones – no longer need our organs and tissue. But should such a situation arise, you may be able to save someone else's life.

At any one time, there are around 1,500 people on Australian organ transplant waiting lists. Australia is a world leader for successful transplant outcomes, and one organ and tissue donor can transform the lives of 10 or more people. 

If you decide you want to be an organ and tissue donor, registering your wishes with the Australian Organ Donor Register now is an important step. 

 

"At any one time, there are around 1,500 people on Australian organ transplant waiting lists."

 

Why register as an organ and tissue donor?

Organ donation is a life-saving and life-transforming medical process. People who need an organ transplant are usually very ill or dying because an organ is failing. They range from babies and children through to older people. 

While 81% of Australians view registration of donation decisions as important, less than a third have signed up to the Australian Organ Donor Register.

In Australia, families play an important role in the donation process, as they are asked to confirm and agree to the donation decision of their loved one. 

Registering as a donor, and discussing your decision with your loved ones, means your family will be left with no doubt of your wishes should they ever be faced with this situation. Knowing what you would have wanted can bring families great comfort in making what can be a very stressful decision. 

When a loved one is a registered donor, nine out of ten families agree to the donation proceeding. This compares to just 52% of families agreeing when the potential donor had not registered or discussed their donation wishes.

Unfortunately, only around 1% of all hospitals deaths are in the specific circumstances where organ donation is possible (around 1,000 deaths in 2015). However, many more can become eye and tissue donors, as tissues can be donated up to 24 hours after death, regardless of where death occurred.

How do I register?

Once you’ve thought it through and made your decision, registering as an organ and tissue donor is quick and easy, and can be done online.

Learn more about organ and tissue donation and register your decision at donatelife.gov.au

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