One of my New Years resolutions this year was to become an organ donor – OFFICIALLY. I slowly ticked some of the easy resolutions off my list. By April, I still hadn’t acted on this one. It was then that a (distant) friend on Facebook asked her friends to please register to become a donor. She had provided the link to register. Within a minute it was done. Simple. Well I did have to get off the couch to grab my Medicare number from my wallet.
And about my distant friend on Facebook? Later I found out that her second child was born with Cystic Fibrosis and they have been in and out of hospital a number of times. I don’t know much about the disorder, except that it affects the lungs and other organs. I hope their little girl never needs a transplant but if she does I hope there is one available. Her parents haven’t publicly talked about her CF but they wished her a happy first birthday last week. She is absolutely gorgeous.
Only 1-2% of people die in hospital in the specific circumstances where organ donation is possible. The circumstances in which you can become a tissue donor are less limited. The good news is that organ donation is on the rise. In 2016, 503 deceased organ donors and their families gave 1,447 Australians a new chance of life.
In Australia, the family of every potential donor will be asked to confirm the donation decision of their loved one before donation can proceed. Make sure you tell your family about your wishes, it’s one of those 5 minute conversations you can have at the dinner table.
If you previously recorded a donation decision on your state driver’s licence, you will need to join the Australian Organ Donor Register now. South Australia is the only state that still recognises your donation decision on your licence.
How to Become An Organ Donor
- Step 1: Go to https://register.donatelife.gov.au/, enter your name, Medicare number, DOB and your postcode.
- Step 2: You will receive a letter confirming your entered details. Sign it and post it back in the enclosed prepaid envelope.
- Step 3: Receive your shiny card in the mail and pop it in your wallet.
- Step 4: Tell your family your wishes.
It seems that there are a number of myths and misconceptions that are holding Australians back from becoming an organ donor.
Here are some of the most commons ones based on research undertaken by the Organ and Tissue Authority.