Growth in organ transplantation despite fewer donors



MEDIA RELEASE               

Tuesday 10 February 2015


Growth in organ transplantation despite fewer donors

In 2014, 1,117 Australians received a transplant due to the generosity of 378 organ donors and their families according to official figures released today by the Australia and New Zealand Organ Donation Registry (ANZOD) and the Organ and Tissue Authority (OTA).  

Ms Yael Cass, OTA’s Chief Executive Officer said, “Considerable progress has been made in the five years since the DonateLife Network was established, with the 2014 outcome of 378 organ donors representing a 53% increase compared to 2009 (247)”.

“Although we had fewer donors in 2014, the number of organs transplanted from deceased donors increased to a record 1,193. This represents a 39% increase in the annual number of organs transplanted in Australia since 2009, the year the DonateLife Network was established.”

ANZOD Executive Officer, Professor Stephen McDonald said, “In 2014 there were more organs transplanted from fewer donors compared with 2013. The net impact meant we had a 3% decline in the number of organ donors but a 1% increase in the number of organs transplanted compared with 2013”.

“In 2014, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania, the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory maintained or exceeded their 2013 outcomes. Donation rates were lower in New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia, with outcomes below those achieved in 2013. This meant Australia’s donation rate was 16.1 donors per million population (dpmp) in 2014 compared with 16.9 dpmp in 2013. This still represents a 41% increase in the donation rate over 2009 (11.4 dpmp),” said Professor McDonald.

The breakdown of donors in 2014 was: Victoria – 117; New South Wales - 92; Queensland - 71; South Australia - 36; Western Australia - 35; the Australian Capital Territory – 11, Tasmania - 9; and, the Northern Territory – 7.

The jurisdictional variation in the national donation outcome highlights the need for a continued focus on implementation of the reform programme to optimise donation for transplantation in every jurisdiction.

In 2014, tissue donation continued to improve the lives of Australians. There were 3,980 tissue donors and 4,225 tissue donations. The generous decision of tissue donors in 2014 allowed the transplant of 9,071 tissue grafts, improving the lives of 5,553 tissue transplant recipients. This represents a 50% increase in the number of tissue transplant recipients compared to 2013 (3,691).

The 2014 outcome of 1,162 eye donors was 2% higher than the 2013 outcome (1,144) and resulted in 1,897 corneal transplants. While this represents a 2% decrease in the number of corneal transplants compared with 2013 (1,932), Australian eye banks have reported that all requests for eye tissue for transplantation were met in 2014.

Ms Cass said family knowledge of organ donation decisions remains a key factor in determining consent, “Families who have discussed and know the donation decision of their loved ones are much more likely to say ‘yes’ to donation. While more than 60% of all potential donor families consent to donation proceeding, nearly 80% of donor families who know their loved one’s donation decision consent to donation. Many also derive a sense of comfort in upholding their loved one’s wishes.”

“We encourage all families to share their organ and tissue donation decisions and to register on the Australian Organ Donor Register”.

The 2014 Report from the Australia and New Zealand Organ Donation Registry (ANZOD) is available at

Read the Organ and Tissue Authority’s 2014 Performance Report here. 

For more information, visit:

The Organ and Tissue Authority (OTA) leads implementation of the Australian Government’s national reform programme to increase organ and tissue donation and transplantation. The OTA’s aim is to: increase capability and capacity within the health system to maximise donation rates and to build community awareness and stakeholder engagement across Australia to promote organ and tissue donation.

The Australia and New Zealand Organ Donation Registry (ANZOD) is responsible for the collection and reporting on deceased organ donors in Australia and New Zealand. ANZOD records and reports on a wide range of statistics that relate to organ donation following death within Australia and New Zealand.


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