Have a Heart?

Give others a second chance – consider organ donation. For people suffering from a serious or life-threatening condition, organ donation can mean a second chance at life. More than 30,000 Australian have received transplants over the past 60 years, with improved survival rates now meaning that more recipients of donated organs or tissue can look forward to a healthier, happier life. Who can donate? Anyone can choose to donate their organs or tissue when they die. There is no age limit, although only people who are 18 or over can register their consent on the Australia Organ Donor Register. For people under the age of 18, the family must give their consent. What can I donate? Organs that you can donate are the heart, liver, lungs, kidneys and pancreas. Tissues that can be donated are the corneas (the clear front part of the eye which lets light in), skin, bone and heart valves. Up to 10 other people can receive your organs and tissue, meaning up to 10 lives saved. Where can I register? Even if you have expressed an interest in organ donation in the past, such as by ticking a box in your drivers licence renewal form, you still need to register on the Australian Organ Donor Register. This is the only national register for organ and tissue donation. You can also register your objection to donation. Registration forms and more information are available at organdonation.org.au or at medicareaustralia.gov.au. Forms are also available at any Medicare office or by calling 1800 777 203.

Did You Know . . .? You have a much greater chance of requiring an organ transplant than becoming a donor. Generally there are around 2000 people waiting for organ transplants at any one time, with the largest number of people urgently needing kidney transplants. More than 100 people die in Australia each year while waiting for organ or tissue transplants. At the beginning of 2005, 1663 people were waiting for transplants. By the end of 2005, 727 peoplehad received transplants from 204 people who had donated organs.


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