FACTS AND STATISTICS
Organ transplant procedures in Australia (2020)
Australia is a world leader in successful transplants and while our donation rate has more than doubled in recent years, there simply aren't enough donor organs for everyone who needs them.
Life on the waiting list for some can last for more than 15 years and reduces their quality of life dramatically. A person suffering kidney failure can spend up to eight hours a day on a dialysis machine. Heart or lung failure can leave people struggling to walk and those with liver failure suffer serious fatigue, bloating and jaundice.
While most donations occur after a person has died; it is also possible to become a living donor. A relative or friend can donate one of their kidneys or partial liver to another in need.
Around 1,650 Australians are currently waitlisted for a transplant. A further 12,000 are on dialysis, many of whom would benefit from a kidney transplant.
In Australia, 90% of families say yes to donation when their loved one is a registered donor. This compares to the national consent rate of 64%.
When the family is unaware of their loved one’s donation decision, only 44% of families agree to donation so it’s vital to communicate your wishes with your loved ones.
Hundreds of people still die each year while waiting for an organ transplant.
One organ and tissue donor could help save and improve the quality of life of up to 10 people.
A person can donate a number of different organs, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, liver and pancreas. They can also donate certain body tissues, such as corneas, skin, heart valves and bone. Tissue donation may occur up to 24 hours after death. Many more people are suitable for tissue donation than organ donation.
Research, improved medical techniques and technology have resulted in greatly improved survival rates and a better quality of life for most organ recipients.
Most organs are donated by people who die while on a ventilator in an Intensive Care Unit, generally as a result of a major accident, a brain haemorrhage or stroke. Today, fewer people die in these circumstances and that number is further reduced because of welcomed improvements in road safety and advances in medical treatment.
In 2020, 1,270 Australian lives were saved through an organ transplant due to the generosity of 463 deceased organ donors and their families.