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Up-to-date statistics can be located by contacting Transplant Australia Head Office or you can follow the following link to the ANZDATA website ( http://www.anzdata.org.au/).
INTERNATIONAL DONOR STATISTICS
According to the International Registry of Organ Donation & Transplantation, Australia is currently ranked 17th in the world. Table 1 below lists the countries with a higher organ donation ranking. Spain, Belgium, France, Norway, and Italy all have “presumed consent” laws on organ donation, where everyone is considered a donor unless they specify otherwise. In contrast the USA and Finland practice an ‘opt in’ consent law where their citizens provide express and informed agreement to donate organs and tissues in the event of their death. However, there are many other factors beside legislation which affects donor rates internationally, including hospital processes, public awareness, religion and culture, road death toll rates and many others. It is important to note that donation is still discussed with the family and the objections of next of kin are not overruled in Australia and all comparable countries, whether a presumed or informed consent model is in place.
AUSTRALIAN DONOR STATISTICS
From 2002 – 2007 there has been fluctuation in the donor rates within each state. More often than not there is a correlating event in the state that highlights the need for organs, causing a spike in donation rates. Such events might include the donation of organs by the family of a well-known person, or publicity surrounding the Australian Transplant Games.
There are also a number of factors that contribute to each state’s donation rate. These factors include having the drivers license system linked to the Australian Organ Donor Register (AODR) or sending out ADOR forms when a first-time driver obtains their license.
Advances in medical technology have meant an increase in the functioning longevity of transplanted organs. Table 3 below provides a clear comparison between deceased and live donors and the life of transplanted kidneys.
It is these advances that allow many recipients to return to their normal lives. And they are empowered with the knowledge that receiving an organ will not only provide a great quality of life but a more sustainable, long-term healthy future.
Currently in Australia, there are some transplant recipients who have had their transplanted organs longer than their native organs. It is important to remember that receiving an organ transplant is not a short term fix -- it is a long term solution.