Organ donation: Did you know?

REGISTERING your decision on organ donation makes a measurable difference to consent rates.

DonateLife records show about six in 10 families will say yes when their loved one is dying and could potentially be a donor but is not registered.

With registration, that consent rate increases to 90%.

Even without the formal process, talking alone is proven to increase consent rates.

The research, released earlier this month by the Organ and Tissue Authority, shows the consent rate is about 77% for families who have previously discussed organ donation.

Their research also shows about one-third of people aren't sure they want to be donors.


"The key reasons are not having thought enough about it, not liking the idea or thinking their organs would not be medically suitable or too old to donate," the Organ and Tissue Authority data report said.

People who do not want to become organ donors after death can also register their decision through Medicare, just as those would like to become donors can too.

The registration process also allows you to indicate the extent to which you would like to donate - whether that means all your organs and tissue or only some.

DonateLife reminds people though that registration is not binding and the decision ultimately rests with family members.

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Organ donation in Australia

SINCE DonateLife was founded in 2009, the number of organ transplants being performed across Australia has steadily gone up.

In DonateLife's first year, Australia recorded 854 organ transplants.

Last year it recorded 1188.

In 2009, Australia had 205 organ donors who had suffered brain death and 42 who had suffered a circulatory death.

Last year, there were 271 donors who had a brain death and 107 who donated after circulatory death.

Donating organs after a circulatory death - when your heart stops beating - is much rarer but is increasingly being adopted in Australia.

DonateLife's Kate Stodart said the heart and the pancreas are the organs least able to be donated.

"They are often not medically suitable," she said.

In 2014 alone, there were 79 heart transplants and 54 pancreas and pancreatic islet transplants.

Pancreatic islets are responsible for producing insulin, and transplanting them can help treat certain cases of diabetes.

DonateLife has also seen donations of tissue go up since its inception.

In 2012, the first year tissue donations were recorded, 192 people in total gave skin, cardiovascular tissue and musculoskeletal tissue after their death without also giving organs.

By 2014, the number of tissue-only donors went up to 322.

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