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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.
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
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 15,500 people have received life-saving organ transplants from 5,450 deceased organ donors.
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.
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.
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. 3101.0 Estimated Resident Population, June 2019. Australian Demographic Statistics (Released 19/12/2019).
- Australian Bureau of Statistics. 3302.0 Deaths, Australia, 2018 (Released 25/09/2019).
- Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2019. Admitted patient care 2017–18: Australian hospital statistics.
- Health services series no. 90. Cat. no. HSE 225. Canberra: AIHW.
- DonateLife Audit, January 2020 5 Deceased organ donation in Australia, Australia and New Zealand Organ Donor Registry, January 2020