Organ donation on the rise, but more donors needed

10 November, 2015

The AMA welcomes the most recent figures from the Australia and New Zealand Organ Donation Registry, which show that organ donation is again on the rise in Australia.

In 2015, from January to September, the number of actual deceased donors was 320, an increase of around 10 per cent on the same time last year.

The total number of transplant recipients from solid organ donors was 907. The mean number of recipients per solid organ donor was 2.8. The number of recipients who received multiple organs was 48.

AMA President, Professor Brian Owler, said today that the increased donor rate is very encouraging, but Australia's organ donor rate is still low by international standards.

"We need to lift the donor rate in Australia, and this will require a lot of community education and a lot of discussions within families," Professor Owler said.

"The AMA strongly encourages Australians of all ages to think about becoming an organ donor.

"Family GPs are an excellent source of information about organ donation, and they can help people make an informed choice to become a donor.

"It is important that people share their decision to become an organ donor with others, especially family and loved ones. They will be asked to confirm a donor's donation decision, so they need to be fully informed in order for the donor decision to be respected and carried out.

"The AMA urges families to support the donor wishes of their relatives."

Donors should register their consent on the Australian Organ Donor Register, and they can also include their organ donor wishes as part of advance care planning.

Background (Source – DonateLife):

  • around 1600 people are on the Australian organ transplant waiting list at any one time;
  • one organ and tissue donor can help more than 10 people by saving a life, improving the quality of life, and restoring bodily function;
  • the majority of Australians (69 per cent) are willing to become organ and tissue donors;
  • in Australia, the family will always be asked to confirm the donation decision of the deceased individual before donation takes place;
  • approximately 60 per cent of families give consent for donation to proceed; and
  • those families who are aware of their loved one's wish to become an organ donor are more likely to agree to donation, but 64 per cent do not know or are not sure of the donation decision of their loved ones.