On this page
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 2022 Donation and Transplantation Activity Report for more detailed data and analysis.
Organ donation process
- Very few people can become an organ donor when they die.
- A person must die in a hospital in specific circumstances, in an ICU or ED, as organs need to be functioning well to be considered for transplantation.
- Only around 2% of people who die in Australian hospitals meet the criteria required to be an organ donor
- In 2022, around 1,400 people (of the 80,000 people who died in Australian hospitals) died in a way where organ donation could be considered
- Requests to families for donation were made in 1,300 cases
- Of this, 701 families said yes to donation in the hospital – representing a national consent rate of 54% – with 454 people becoming organ donors
- With only a small number of potential donors, increasing consent is critical to increasing our donation rate.
- There are around 1,800 Australians waitlisted for a transplant and around 14,000 additional people on dialysis – some of whom may need a kidney transplant.
Australia’s potential deceased organ donor population and transplantation outcomes
*2021 was an anomaly for new registrations attributed to a record number of Australians registering when accessing their COVID-19 vaccination certificates through the Express Plus Medicare app.
While the majority of Australians support organ and tissue donation, only around one in three (36%) are registered to be a donor.
Since the national program first began in 2009, more than 16,700 people have received life-saving organ transplants from 5,904 deceased organ donors.
Deceased organ donation and transplant recipients 2000-2022
The first 10 years of the national program saw a 122% increase in deceased donation rates, resulting in an 81% increase in people receiving an organ transplant.
Since the emergence of COVID-19, the number of donors and people who have received a transplant has dropped by 15%, though there was a small increase in 2022 compared to 2021.
What can you do to help?
We know that 8 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.
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.
* From deceased donors
- Australian Bureau of Statistics. Causes of death, Australia, 2021 (Released 19/10/2022).
- Australian Bureau of Statistics. National, state and territory Population, 30 June 2022 (Released 16/12/2022).
- Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2021. Admitted patient care 2020–21 (Released 01/06/2022).
- DonateLife Audit, February 2023.
- Deceased organ donation in Australia, Australia and New Zealand Organ Donation Registry, 15 January 2023.