Organ and tissue donation

Organ donation is a life-saving and life-transforming medical process. Organ and tissue donation involves removing organs and tissues from someone who has died (a donor) and transplanting them into someone who, in many cases, is very ill or dying (a recipient).

Almost everyone can help others through organ and tissue donation.

For more information about organ and tissue donation, please visit the DonateLife website.

Organ donation

Less than 1% of all people who die in hospital can be considered for organ donation because they must die in specific circumstances. These circumstances include where and how a donor dies and the condition of their organs and tissues. While your age and medical history will be considered, you shouldn’t assume you’re too young, too old or not healthy enough to become a donor.

Because the opportunity to become an organ donor is rare, it is important that we all make a decision about what we want and that we discuss it with our family.

Organs that can be donated include the:

  • heart
  • lungs
  • liver
  • kidneys
  • intestine
  • pancreas.

Tissue donation

A far greater number of people have the opportunity to donate tissues for transplantation. For transplantation to be successful, tissue donation doesn’t require the donor’s death to have occurred under the same limited circumstances as organ donation. Unlike organs, tissues can be stored for varying periods of time.

Tissues that can be translated include:

  • heart valves and other heart tissue
  • bone
  • tendons
  • ligaments
  • skin
  • parts of the eye such as the cornea and sclera.

Donation of bodies to science

Donating your body to science is one of the greatest gifts one can give to make a lasting contribution to the education and training of our current and future health professionals and to advance science through research.

The University of Adelaide operates a central mortuary facility on behalf of the Universities in South Australia for the acceptance of all bodies donated to science.

For more information on the Body Donation Program please visit the University of Adelaide School of Medicine website.

Australian Organ and Tissue Authority

The Australian Organ and Tissue Authority was established in 2009 to support the Commonwealth Government’s World’s Best Practice Approach to Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation Reform Package. The Authority works in partnership with all State and Territory Governments and with members of the Organ and Tissue Donation sector to ensure a convergence of policy and practice across Australia on organ and tissue donation for transplantation.