Australian Organ Donor Register

The only national register for people to record their decision about becoming an organ and tissue donor for transplantation after death.

Eligibility basics

You must be 16 years or older to register

You need to know

Transplants save lives

For people with serious or life-threatening illnesses, an organ or tissue transplant could mean a second chance at life. Around 1,700 people are on Australian organ transplant waiting lists at any one time.

By choosing to record your donation decision on the Donor Register, you could save the lives of up to 10 people and improve the lives of many more.

Registration is voluntary

Recording your donation decision on the Donor Register is voluntary and you have complete choice over which organs and tissue you wish to donate.

Donation can involve:

  • organs - including kidneys, heart, lungs, liver and pancreas
  • tissue - including heart valves, bone tissue, skin and eye tissue

Discuss your decision with family

While the Donor Register is an easy way to record your donation decision, it’s important to discuss your decision with your family or those close to you, because they will be asked to give consent if you die.

Your family or those close to you will be asked to confirm you had not changed your mind since you recorded your donation decision on the Donor Register. Families that know each other’s donation decisions are more likely to follow them.

This is the only national register

The Donor Register is the only national register for organ and tissue donation for transplantation after death.

Even if you have already recorded your donation wishes somewhere else for example, by ticking a box on a driver licence renewal, it is important you update your details by registering your decision on the Donor Register. 

The Donor Register lets authorised medical staff who have permission from the Australian Government, check your donation decision anywhere in Australia, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They can then give that information to your family if you die.

Family consent is always needed before donation can go ahead, so remember to discuss your decision with your family and those close to you.

Almost anyone can donate

Almost anyone can donate organs and tissue. There is no age limit on the donation of some organs and tissue. 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.

Donation after death

Organ donors

A person may be able to donate organs when they have been declared brain dead in an intensive care unit in hospital.

Brain death is when blood flow to the brain stops. The brain stops functioning and dies with no possibility of recovery.

A series of tests carried out by 2 independent and qualified senior doctors confirms that brain death has occurred.

People are sometimes confused about the difference between brain death and being in a coma. Brain death is completely different from being in a coma. A patient in a coma is unconscious because their brain is injured in some way, but their brain can continue to function and may heal. Medical tests can clearly distinguish between brain death and being in a coma.

Organ donation may also be possible after a person’s heart has stopped beating, referred to as cardiac death, but this is less common.

Tissue donors

More people have the opportunity to donate tissue than organs.

Unlike organs, tissue may be stored for a period of time and tissue donation does not require the donor’s death to have occurred under the same limited circumstances as organ donation.

The donation procedure is straightforward

Removing organs and tissue is no different from any other surgical operation, and is performed by highly skilled health professionals. The donor’s body is always treated with dignity and respect. Donating organs and tissue does not change the body’s physical appearance, and it does not affect funeral arrangements.

Scientific research

The Donor Register is not for recording decisions about donating organs and tissue for scientific research.

Your personal information is safe

Only authorised medical staff who have permission from the Australian Government, have access to information recorded on the Donor Register.

Register

How to register

You can register online, by form or by phone.

Online

By form

By phone

  • Call 1800 777 203 to register on the phone or ask for a registration form to be posted to you

Submit your form

Once you have registered you can use your Medicare online account to view, download and print your registration details.

It helps if you tell us your Medicare card number

It’s not compulsory to link your donor registration to your Medicare record but we ask your permission to do this because it will help keep your details up to date.

It will also help to identify your record if you are ever considered as an organ donor in the future.

Privacy

Collecting information on the Donor Register is authorised by the Medicare Australia Act 1973.

This information may only be given to authorised medical staff approved by the Australian Government, or where authorised or required by law.

Resources

DonateLife

The DonateLife website gives you the facts about organ and tissue donation and lets you send a personalised message to people close to you about your decision to become an organ or tissue donor.

Payment Finder

Select the options that describe your circumstances then explore a suggested list of possible Centrelink and Medicare payments and services online.

Start using Payment Finder

Service Finder

Select your state and topics of interest to find links to government and community organisation support.

Start using Service Finder