Did you know

Organ donation has a lot of frequently asked questions, myths and interesting facts surrounding it. At Saffron Day, we want you to be well informed when you make any decisions, and this is why we decided to put everything all in one convenient place. 
 We invite you to take a look and find out more about organ donation and the organ donation process below. We're also going to dispel the most common myths and give you several interesting facts below. 

Organ Donation - FAQs

1What happens when I die if no one can get in touch with your immediate family?
Should you die unexpectedly, the hospital you go to will make every effort possible to get in touch with your family, and they may involve the police as well. If they exhaust all options and can't reach your family, they'll designate a police officer to try and get in touch with your acquaintances or friends. They'll check the Australian Organ Donor Register as well, and the officer will give the medical team their recommendations. 

2How old do I have to be to register as an organ donor?
For full registration to be an organ donor, you must be over 18 years of age. However, you can register with the Australian Organ Donor Register when you turn 16 years old with an "intent to be an organ and tissue donor." Also, parents can't register their children. However, they can give permission to donate their organs if they pass away. 

3Can your family change their mind about donating your organs?
Yes. It is possible for your family to change their minds and rescind the organ donation agreement you signed. They have until the point that the staff take you into the operating room to make their decision. 

4What is a living donation, and how does it differ from a traditional donation?
Unlike traditional organ donation where the donor is deceased, you can donate a part of your organ when you live. You can donate part of your liver, bone or your kidney without any problems. After the surgery, you'll go back to your day to day routine.
5What is the average wait time to get an organ transplant?
The wait time to match with a suitable donor ranges from six months up to four years. Some people may have to wait longer. However, health usually deteriorates the longer someone has to wait for an organ donation. The sooner someone gets a donated organ, the better their chances become. 

6Is it up to my family to pay for the cost of donating?
No. Your family will not have to pay for the surgery or hospital expenses to donate your organs. Your family will be responsible for hospital costs before your death is formally certified, and donation takes place. They're also responsible for the funeral costs. 

7Will my family find out information about the organ recipient?

No. By law, physicians cannot release information about the person who received the organs. They may discuss a limited amount of details with the family, but no large identifying details like names will come up. However, you can request to get updates through your local DonateLife agency. You're also able to write anonymous letters to each other through the hospital or transplant agency. 

Organ Donation Myths 

Unfortunately, there are several myths and misinformation floating around about organ donation. These myths can make people hesitant to donate, and we want to dispel the largest ones for you below. 

1I don't need to discuss my organ donation status with my family.
False. Your family are the ones who will have to confirm your choice to be an organ donor upon the time of your death. They'll also have a part of each step of the donation process, and they'll be critical for providing vital health information to the transplant doctors and health professionals. 

2Doctors won't try as hard to save my life if I'm an organ donor.

This is absolutely false. Saving your life is the top priority for all of the medical staff involved in your care. The medical staff only consider organ donation and check the Australian Organ Donor Register once they determine that your death is inevitable or you die. 

3I've lived in the UK, and this prevents me from being an organ donor in Australia.

Anyone who resided in the UK between 1980 and 1996 for six or more consecutive months is still able to donate their organs. However, you won't be able to donate tissue or blood due to the risk of transmitting Creutzdfeldt-Jakob disease. Your eligibility depends on your organ condition when you die, where you die and how you die. 

4 It's better if I let my family decide at the time of my death rather than have a registration on file beforehand.

It's important that you have your wishes known well before you pass away. The reason why so many families decline donating their loved one's organs is because they don't know their wishes. It's also an emotionally-charged time, and you want to make the entire process as easy as you possibly can. 

5Organ donation will disfigure my body
The surgery team will treat your body with as much dignity and respect as possible, and they'll leave very little evidence of the surgery. Once your family has you dressed for the funeral, no one will be able to tell that you had organ removal surgery. 

6Since I registered and it shows on my driver's license, I don't have to do anything else.
You have to register with the Australian Organ Donor Registration database. Should you come into a hospital without your license, the staff has no way of knowing that you wish to donate. When you enter your information into the Australian Organ Donor Registration, this is a government-run site where your medical professionals can look for your information.

Interesting Facts About Organ Donation  

Organ donation has a host of interesting facts that comes with the process. Knowing the interesting facts can show you just how important early organ donation registration is to your life. 

  • There are roughly 1,800 Australians on a waitlist for a transfer with 12,000 more waiting in dialysis for a healthy organ. 

  • In 2020, 1,270 Australian lives were saved through an organ transplant due to the generosity of 463 deceased organ donors and their families. 

  • Since the national program began in 2009 there have been 14,352 organ transplant recipients from 5,029 deceased organ donors.

  • Should Australia's national consent rate reach 70%, this would push the country into the top 10 countries for organ donation nationally. 

  • When it comes to discussing organ donation wishes with loved ones, only around half of all donators have done so. 

  • Every one in three Australians chose to donate organs in the event of their death, and this number continues to rise. 

  • Nine in ten families say that they would uphold their family member's wishes to donate their organs.