Your Questions Answered

Who can be an organ donor?

Almost anyone can donate organs and tissues. Age, health and lifestyle are no restriction. The determining factors are where and how the donor dies and the condition of the organs and tissues at the time of death. Specialised health professionals called donor coordinators will assess each person at the time of death to decide which organs and tissues are suitable for donation.

People who drink or smoke may not be able to donate their liver or lungs but may still be able to donate other organs and tissues. People in their 80's have saved the lives of much younger people. People with cancer have also been able to donate tissues.

Only a few medical conditions, such as transmissible diseases like HIV, may prevent someone being a donor. A person may not be able to donate for 12 months after having a tattoo.

What organs or tissues can be donated?

In Australia organs you can donate are your heart, lungs, liver, kidneys and pancreas. Tissues that can be donated include heart valves and pericardium, corneal and eye tissue, skin, bone and related musculoskeletal tissue.

Can I specify which organ I want to donate?

Yes. You record which organs and tissue you want to donate on the Australian Organ Donor Register. It is important that you discuss your wishes with your family.

If I lived in the UK during “mad cow disease” can I still be an organ donor

Unlike blood donation, this does not necessarily eliminate you from being a donor. You may still be able to donate your organs but not your tissues.