Australians urged to ‘say YES’ to organ and tissue donation

Four in ten Australians are yet to discuss the life-saving topic of organ and tissue donation, according to new research released today by the Organ and Tissue Authority (OTA).

The market research was commissioned by the OTA in the lead up to DonateLife Week (2 – 9 August) to gauge community awareness and discussion levels about organ and tissue donation.

“The research found that Australians identify themselves as being generous (82%), and 75% view organ and tissue donation as the ultimate act of generosity,” said Yael Cass, Chief Executive Officer of the OTA.

“Australians’ generosity extends to seven in 10 Australians being willing to become donors. The chance to save lives is the greatest motivator. Yet the research highlights the need for more Australians to convert their willingness into registration and family discussion of their donation decisions,” said Ms Cass.

During DonateLife Week, Australians are being urged to #sayYESsavelives and share their organ and tissue donation decisions. In helping to start the conversation, Australians are being asked ‘If you’d say yes to receiving a life-saving transplant, have you said yes to become and organ and tissue donor?’.

“While the majority of Australians (84%) want a family member to receive a life-saving transplant if needed, just 56% of those surveyed have themselves made a decision about becoming a life-saving donor,” said Ms Cass.

“Importantly, people who have made a decision about donation are more likely to have discussed the subject with family members (80%), with the overall rate of family discussion at 60%.

Additional key findings include:

  • Knowledge of family members’ donation decisions is important to 74% of Australians, yet just 36% feel confident they know their family members’ decision.
  • The majority (85%) of Australians view organ and tissue donation as important because one day they or a loved one may need a transplant.
  • 1 in 3 Australians are unsure or unwilling to become donors. The key reasons are: not having thought enough about it; not liking the idea; or, thinking their organs would not be medically suitable or too old to donate.

“Family discussion and knowledge of donation decisions make a real difference when the rare opportunity for donation arises,” said Ms Cass.

The DonateLife Audit data shows that:

  • The 2014 national average consent rate for donation after brain death was 59%, with 4 in 10 declining the donation request.
  • The consent rate jumps to 90% where the deceased had registered their consent and to 77% when the family had prior knowledge of the donor’s decision.
  • When families have no prior knowledge of the donor’s decision and there is no Australian Organ Donor Register registration, the consent rate is just 48%.

“DonateLife Week is a time to make and register your decision on the Australian Organ Donor Register and to discuss this decision with your loved ones. It’s important that you can make your decision known to your family who will be asked to confirm your decision,” said Ms Cass.

“More than 1,600 people are on organ transplant waiting lists in any month. One day you or a loved one could be waiting for the life-saving gift of a transplant.  If you’d say yes to a life-saving transplant, consider saying yes to becoming a life-saving donor.”

About DonateLife Week (Sunday 2 – Sunday 9 August) and #sayYESsavelives

DonateLife Week is the national awareness week to promote family discussion and registration of organ and tissue donation decisions. The theme for DonateLife Week 2015 is to ‘have the chat’ that saves lives, with Australians being urged to register their organ and tissue donation decision on the Australian Organ Donor Register, and to share that decision with their loved ones.

The #sayYESsavelives social media campaign is part of DonateLife Week 2015.  From now until 16 August all Australians are invited to post a photo with their message in support of organ and tissue donation and why they #sayYESsavelives on their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts.

The OTA commissioned Woolcott Research to undertake a market research survey with a total of 1,960 interviews among people aged 18 years+, conducted nationally using a combination of online and phone (CATI) methodologies to ensure a representative sample of the population.

For more information visit:

For online and television media:

You can access the DonateLife Week 30 sec Community Service Announcement (CSA) at This CSA was produced pro bono by HYPE TV in collaboration with DonateLife Tasmania. It features Australians sharing how a transplant saved their lives such as liver transplant recipient Frank, “Before my transplant I was faced with little more than a few weeks left to live, now I’ve got the world at my feet again.”

For media enquiries or interviews contact: 

Cristina O’Brien

0409 308 038


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the facts about organ and
tissue donation

  • Frequently asked questions
  • Understanding donation


and register on the Australian
Organ Donor Register

  • Register your decision


your donation decision with family and friends

  • Who needs to know?
  • How to start the discussion