The final report on organ transplantation in Australia shows a record 10,500 people benefited from eye and tissue donation in 2018.
The Minister responsible for the Organ and Tissue Authority, Ken Wyatt AM, said this represented a nine per cent rise over the previous year.
“This new data released today confirms what we already know, that Australia is a giving nation,” Minister Wyatt said.
“We are so grateful to the 5,531 living and deceased donors who have made sacrifices in 2018 to give the gift of life and sight to their fellow Australians.”
The 2018 Australian Donation and Transplantation Activity Report, released by Minister Wyatt and the Organ and Tissue Authority today, also showed a record number of Australians received corneal transplants in 2018, with a 9.6 per cent increase, from 2,175 to 2,258.
“Since the national organ and tissue donation program began in 2009, more than 16,000 Australians have received the gift of sight,” Minister Wyatt said.
“I think many of us take eyesight for granted but blindness or vision impairment can be devastating.
“That is why donations of eyes and other tissue is vitally important.”
The report also showed there were 238 living donors who saved the lives of another Australian by donating a kidney. A living organ donor is someone who donates a kidney or partial liver to another person, usually a relative or close friend who has end stage kidney disease or liver failure.
"Living donors make an incredibly generous sacrifice to save or improve the life of someone else, the procedure to transplant an organ is not without risk to the donor and this act of kindness should be recognised and supported,” said Minister Wyatt.
Last year 40 transplants were from living donors through the Australian Paired Kidney Exchange Program.
The Australian Paired Kidney Exchange Program finds matches for people who are eligible for a kidney transplant and who have a living donor who is willing to donate but is unable to because their blood or tissue type is not compatible. The system pairs them up with another potential recipient and donor.
“Our national effort to increase organ and tissue donation has seen significant progress over the past decade, with the number of deceased organ donors per year more than doubling,” Minister Wyatt said.
“However, there is still more to be done, with around 1,400 Australians currently waitlisted for a transplant and around 12,000 receiving kidney dialysis.”
“We need all Australians to talk about organ donation, understand it and register on the Australian Organ Donor Register.”
You can register to be a donor at www.donatelife.gov.au in less than a minute on your mobile phone, tablet or computer, to one day give someone a second chance at life.
The 2018 Australian Donation and Transplantation Activity Report is available at https://donatelife.gov.au/about-us/strategy-and-performance/national-performance-data