A new survey of more than 1,000 Australians has shone a spotlight on community attitudes
and myths about organ and tissue donation - confirming long-held beliefs that simply are
With the Great Registration Race for DonateLife Week campaign to encourage up to 100,000 more Aussies to register as organ and tissue donors now on, results of a YouGov poll conducted for the Organ and Tissue Authority in June found:
6 in 10 Australians think there are people who cannot become organ and tissue donors after they die – despite the reality that almost anyone can be considered for organ and tissue donation
1 in 3 Australians believe people who are not healthy cannot become organ and tissue donors
Men are twice as likely as women to rank liver as the organ they’d least likely donate (6% vs 3%).
The top reason provided by those who say they’d be least likely to donate their liver is that they don’t think theirs is healthy enough (51%*).
If you die in hospital in a way that donation can be considered, leave it up to your medical team to determine if you are able to become a donor. If you want to be a donor at the end of your life, what’s most important is registering and talking to your family about donation so that they know what you want.
Anyone aged 16+ can register as an organ and tissue donor. Your medical history, lifestyle, what country you’re from or how healthy you are doesn’t matter. Even if you’ve had COVID, you can register.
OTA’s National Medical Director, Associate Professor Helen Opdam, said that Australia’s specialist donation medical teams are experts in determining how suitable an organ is for donation – you should never count yourself out.
“The human body is amazingly complex and can be brilliant at recovering from all sorts of situations and we really want to get that message out there. And even in the end if one organ might not be suitable for donation, others often are.”
The YouGov poll also found that eyes are the body part Aussies say they are least likely to donate when they die. Respondents said the main reason they shied away from eye donation is that this feels too personal. Yet when it comes to eyes - what people say doesn't always match what they do. In 2021, 1,472 Australians donated their eyes when they died.
“Many Australians can donate their eye tissue and other tissue, and this is an absolutely life-changing gift for many,” added Associate Professor Opdam.
The poll further revealed that those in child-free households were more likely to be registered organ and tissue donors than those with kids under 18 at home (41% compared to 33%).
There are currently around 1,750 people on Australia’s organ transplant waitlist, and a further 13,000 Aussies on dialysis, many who may benefit from a kidney transplant. There are many more in need of eye and tissue transplants.
It only takes one minute to register as an organ and tissue donor at donatelife.gov.au or just 3 taps in your Express Plus Medicare app.
You can check out answers to more myths about organ and tissue donation here.