Contact between donor families and recipients

Some families would like to contact the person who received their loved one’s organs or tissues, and some transplant recipients would like to thank the family of their donor.

There are ways that donor families and recipients can communicate with each other. This is done anonymously, as Australia’s organ and tissue donation program is confidential. Legislation and policy in each state or territory prevent health professionals from disclosing information that might publicly identify a donor or transplant recipient.

Anonymous letters

Donor families and those who have received a transplant can write anonymous letters to each other.

The decision to write is a very personal one. It may take some time before a donor family or recipient is ready to send and/or receive a letter. Some people may choose not to write.

Guidelines have been developed to assist people who wish to write. Read the donor family correspondence guidelines and the transplant recipients correspondence guidelines.

A flowchart highlighting the key parts of the correspondence process is available here to assist donor families and transplant recipients wishing to correspond.

If you don’t hear back

If you don’t hear back, this doesn’t mean that the recipient is not grateful, or that the donor family doesn’t appreciate hearing how important their loved one’s gift was. People deal with change, grief and loss in many different ways.

Donor families can check what has happened to their letter by contacting their local DonateLife Agency.

Transplant recipients can contact their relevant transplant coordinator if they would like to follow-up on their letter.

Direct contact

DonateLife is not able to organise direct contact between donor families and transplant recipients.