|A remarkable gift|
By donating their organs, over 200 remarkable people gave the gift of life to
hundreds of fellow Australians in the last 12 months. Each gift of organ or
tissue donation means a second chance at life for up to 10 different people.
More than 30,000 Australians have received transplants in the last 60 years.
Organs that can be donated include the kidneys, heart, lungs, liver and
pancreas. Tissue that can be donated includes heart valves, bone tissue, skin
tissue, eye tissue and pancreatic tissue.
Organ and tissue donation in Australia
Australia currently has one of the lowest organ donation rates in the
developed world and one of the highest transplant success rates in the world.
There are currently 1,780 people known to be on organ transplant waiting
lists in Australia, with the largest number of people urgently needing kidney
transplants. The number of people requiring tissue transplants is even greater.
Organ and tissue donation primarily occurs after death. Most commonly,
organ donation is only considered after brain death has been established
i.e. when the brain stops functioning with no possibility of recovery. When
someone suffers a cardiac death the blood immediately stops flowing,
damaging the organs and making them unfit for transplantation.
If the person suffers brain death while on "ventilation", the blood will
continue to provide oxygen to the organs and keep them in a state suitable
for transplantation. Only around one per cent of people will die in these
Australian Organ Donor Awareness Week
Australian Organ Donor Awareness Week occurs in February each year and
aims specifically to raise awareness of the need for organ and tissue donation
in Australia and to increase the number of registrations on the Australian
Organ Donor Register (AODR).
More than 710,000 Australians have registered their legal consent to become
organ and tissue donors and anyone may decide to become a donor. It is
important, however, to discuss your decision with families, partners or close
friends, as this eases the burden on families having to make the decision on
behalf of those they love and have lost.
A great number of people have the opportunity to donate tissues for
transplantation, such as eye tissue, heart valves, bone tissue and skin tissue.
Unlike organs, tissue remains suitable for donation for many hours after the
heart stops beating and can be stored prior to transplantation.