1,224 lives changed when they received a transplant in 2022

1,224  lives changed when they received a transplant in 2022
1,224  lives changed when they received a transplant in 2022

The Minister responsible for DonateLife, Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care, The Hon Ged Kearney MP, released the 2022 Australian Donation and Transplantation Activity Report this morning in Melbourne.

Assistant Minister Kearney visited one of Australia’s leading donation centres, the Royal Melbourne Hospital, together with the Victorian Minister for Health, The Hon Anne-Marie Thomas MP, donor family, the Clemmens, and DonateLife and transplant teams.

We shared Rob Clemmen's incredibly moving story. His beloved wife Katie become a donor last year when he and his daughters Emily and Isabella said yes to donation.

While the data report provides an annual data snapshot and measure of progress against the national program for increasing organ and tissue donation for transplantation, people are at the heart of our program.

We acknowledge and sincerely thank every donor for the ultimate gift – giving a chance at a full and long life for those needing a transplant. 

There are currently around 1,800 people are on the organ transplant waitlist. There are also around an additional 14,000 people on dialysis, some of whom may benefit from a kidney transplant.

The best chance to help those on the waitlist is to have more Australians say yes to donation – both to registering and consenting to donation in the hospital if there is the opportunity to donate.

Registering is quick and easy. It only takes one minute to sign up at donatelife.gov.au or just three taps in your Medicare app and to tell your family you want to be a donor.

About the data

The Activity Report provides data on organ, eye and tissue donation and transplantation – both deceased and living – that we use to inform ongoing sector improvements. We also share data on consent rates, registration rates and information about how few people can become an organ donor.

Donation and transplantation data

Due to the generosity of 454 deceased organ donors and their families, the lives of 1,224 Australians were changed when they received an organ transplant in 2022.

This is an 8% increase (33 more) in the number of donors and 4% increase (51 more) in the number of people receiving an organ transplant, compared to 2021.

This increase points to early signs of recovery from the impacts of COVID-19, achieved towards the end of 2022 in some jurisdictions. We acknowledge the dedication and commitment of our donation specialist staff and the transplantation teams. 

Impact of COVID-19

The operating environment for donation and transplantation remained complex and challenging in 2022.

The COVID-19 pandemic continued to impact the health system, the health workforce, and the community, causing a decrease in donation and transplantation activity across the last 3 years.

Overall, there is a 15% decrease in donation and transplantation activity from the pre-COVID-19 environment of 2019.

Living donation data

Living donation and transplantation has been challenging during the pandemic as living donor transplants are usually considered elective surgery.  2022 saw an increase in the total number of living donors with 224 living donors – an increase of 10% from 2021.

Of these, 42 kidney transplants were through the Australian and New Zealand Paired Kidney Exchange Program. This is up 3% from 2021 (Australian exchanges only).

In September 2022 the first trans-Tasman exchanges resumed following the re-opening of borders between Australia and New Zealand.

Eye and tissue data 

Many more people can become eye and tissue donors. Eye and tissue donation can occur for people who die outside a hospital and up to 24 hours after death.

In 2022 there were 1,477 eye donors (up 0.3% from 2021) and 2,340 corneal transplants (down 3% from 2021). There were also 276 deceased tissue donors (down 12% from 2021), and 2,472 living tissue donors.


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