Statistics in Australia

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Organ, eye and tissue donation saves lives, restores health and improves the quality of life for thousands of Australians each year. But did you know that only 2% of people who die in hospital each year can be considered for organ donation? One organ donor can save the lives of up to 7 people and help many more through eye and tissue donation. 

Download the 2021 Donation and Transplantation Activity Report for more detailed data and analysis. 

Number of donors

Deceased organ donors
421
9%
Deceased eye donors
1,472
12%
Living organ donors
203
12%
Deceased tissue donors
313
8%

Number of transplant recipients*

Organ transplant recipients
1,174
7%
Corneal transplant recipients
2,413
6%
Living organ transplant recipients
203
12%

Number of transplants per organ*

Kidney
656
Kidney
Liver
253
Liver
Lungs
171
Lung
Heart
112
Heart
Pancreas
38
Pancreas
Intestine
2
Intestine

Consent rates

In 2021, 56% of families said "yes" to donation when asked in a hospital setting compared to 58% in 2020.

Organ donation process

Organ donation is a rare event. It can only occur when someone dies is a hospital ICU or ED as organs must be working well to be able to be transplanted. 

 

  • Only around 2% of people who die in hospital can be considered for organ donation
  • Families will always be asked to consent or say "yes" to donation
  • The consent rate was 56% in 2021
  • Donors need to be assessed as medically suitable at each step of the process
The organ donation process in Australia
170000 Australians die each year, from a total population of 25.7 million. ~80000 deaths in hospital. ~1250 potential organ donors. 1170 requests. 680 consents. 463 donors. 1270 recipients.

 

Number of new registrations

2021
349,947
87%
2020
186,656
16%

While the majority of Australians support organ and tissue donation, only around one in three (36%) are registered to be a donor.

Number of people on the waitlist

There are currently around 1,750 Australians on the waitlist for an organ transplant. There are also more than 13,000 additional people on dialysis  some may need a kidney transplant.

Trend stats

Since the national program first began in 2009, more than 15,500 people have received life-saving organ transplants from 5,450 deceased organ donors.

organ
5,450
deceased organ donors
Eyes
16,045
deceased eye donors
Tissue
35,423
deceased and living tissue donors since 2013

Deceased organ donation and transplant recipients 2000-2021

2021 was the 2nd year of significantly reduced donation and transplantation services in Australia, due to the impact of COVID-19 on health care. It follows 10 years of continued growth since the national program was first established in 2009. 

Trend graph of deceased donors and recipients from 2000-2021

What can you do to help?

We know that 9 out of 10 families gave consent to donation when their family member was registered to be a donor. This dropped to only 4 out of 10 families who gave consent to donation when their family didn't know they wanted to be a donor.  

An irregular heartbeat that would leave him feeling weak and exhausted suddenly became a part of James’s daily life when in his mid-twenties. “It was like having a drummer inside my chest who didn’t know how to keep a beat,” James said.

"Before my transplant, the simplest tasks, like walking my dogs, would completely exhaust me." Ailish fought a battle with Cystic Fibrosis from birth, but it was just as she finished high school that her health began to steadily decline.

Need more information?

Access our data reports from previous years and find out how we use data to increase the rates of donation and transplantation. 

Quick downloads:

 

* From deceased donors
~ Approximately

Data sources:

  1. Australian Bureau of Statistics. 3101.0 Estimated Resident Population, June 2019. Australian Demographic Statistics (Released 19/12/2019).
  2. Australian Bureau of Statistics. 3302.0 Deaths, Australia, 2018 (Released 25/09/2019).
  3. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2019. Admitted patient care 2017–18: Australian hospital statistics.
  4. Health services series no. 90. Cat. no. HSE 225. Canberra: AIHW.
  5. DonateLife Audit, January 2020 5 Deceased organ donation in Australia, Australia and New Zealand Organ Donor Registry, January 2020