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Barwon Health | Intensive Care Unit

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Organ and tissue donation saves many lives every year. The majority of donors are deceased, but people can also become a living donor.

The Organ and Tissue Authority (OTA) leads the Australian Government’s national program to improve organ and tissue donation so more Australians have access to a transplant.

This is done in partnership with state and territory governments, DonateLife teams, hospitals, health specialists and the community.

The OTA works in collaboration with the Donate Agency in each state and territory and the specialist donation medical, nursing and support staff, who deliver the nationally consistent program. They make up the DonateLife Network.

Established in 2009, the OTA operates under the Australian Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation Authority Act 2008 (the Act). The OTA is an independent statutory agency within the Australian Government Health portfolio.

Donation and Transplant team

The donation and transplantation of organs and tissues involves donors, families and specialist medical and nursing teams. Dr David Green is Barwon Health's Donation Medical Director and is supported by a donation co-ordinator.

Who can donate?

Organ and tissue donation is when you decide to give an organ and or tissue to save or transform the life of someone else. You can donate some organs and tissues when you are alive, however most organ and tissue donations come from people who have died.  

Everyone over the age of 16 can register to donate their organs and tissues on the Australian Organ Donor Register (AODR).  

It doesn’t matter how old you are, or even if you think you’re not healthy enough – you can still register. A specialist donation team will make an assessment on a case by case basis, and there is every chance that some of your organs and tissues may be suitable for donation.

Only 2% of Australians die in a way that makes it possible for them to donate their organs. This is why every potential donor is precious.

Find out why is it important to register and talk to your family about donation.

Donation and families: what you can do?

The two vital things you can do is to register and tell your family.

  • Register to be a donor. Registering is important because it lets your family and the doctors and nurses know that you want to be a donor. It’s easy to register and only takes a minute. You need to be over 16.
  • Tell your family. It’s vital that your loved ones know you want to be a donor. This will help them make the decision when the time comes. 

How organ and tissue are donated

The way you die affects the donation process and which organs and tissues can be donated.

To be an organ donor you need to die in a hospital, usually on a ventilator in Intensive Care, as your organs needs to be working well to be transplanted.

Eye and tissue donation can occur up to 24 hours after your death, so you do not need to die in a hospital.

Organ donation will only proceed if there is a person on the waitlist for an organ that is a match with you.

During end-of-life care, the medical team and donation specialists will discuss the options with your family. Care, dignity and respect are always maintained.

Donation specialist staff will keep in contact with your family over the coming months and provide support and information.


Last Modified: Tuesday, 11 July 2023