Donate Life Week is an annual awareness week which aims to inspire all Australians to make a difference to the lives of others by registering to be an organ or tissue donor. This year, Donate Life Week is from the July 26 to the August 2. It’s all about encouraging more Australians to register to be a donor and start conversations about what they’d like to do with their family and friends.

While many Australians believe it’s important to be an organ and tissue donor, only one in three are registered. The home doctor experts at House Call Doctor have all the information you need to know about donating.

What is organ and tissue donation?

The medical process of organ and tissue donation is lifesaving and life-transforming. Organs and/or tissues are removed from a donor and transplanted into someone who is ill or dying from organ failure. Tissue donation can dramatically improve the quality of life for an individual.

Why do people need transplants?

Here are the statistics:

  • One donor can save the lives of up to ten people and significantly improve the lives of dozens more
  • Currently, there are around 1,500 Australians waiting for a lifesaving organ transplant
  • The average waiting time ranges from one year for a liver transplant to more than three years for a kidney transplant.

There are many reasons why people need transplants and all demographics are affected, from babies and children through to the elderly. Some need transplants because they are born with a physical condition or disease that causes organ failure and others may have contracted a disease later in life.

Which organs and tissues can be donated?

In Australia, the organs that can be transplanted are:

  • Kidney
  • Lungs
  • Heart
  • Liver
  • Pancreas
  • Intestines.

The tissues that can be transplanted are:

  • Parts of the eye
  • Bone
  • Heart valves
  • Tendons
  • Skin
  • Ligaments.

Who is eligible to become a donor?

Those over the age of 18 can register for organ donation. Factors such as age, race, ethnicity or health don’t affect eligibility. There are only a few medical conditions that prevent people from donating their organs, such as systematic infections and cancer that can impact the health of the person receiving the organ. Also, some religions prevent people from donating their organs.

How can I get involved?

There are plenty of downloadable materials and resources located on the DonateLIfe website and you can promote Donate Life Week on social media using the hashtags #DonateLife #DonateLifeWeek #DonateLifeWeek2020.

To become an organ or tissue donor, register on the Australian Organ Donor Register through Medicare. Make sure to discuss your decision with your family so they know your intention.