Editorial: The time is now to have that conversation

It’s one of the toughest conversations for a family to have at what is undoubtedly one of the most emotional times for a family … do we or do we not donate our loved one’s organs?

It’s also a conversation families should be having when people are hale and hearty. Should we become organ donors?

If the decision is yes, then let your family and friends know this … it may save them a degree of heartache down the track. 

Currently, more than 1400 Australians are waiting for a life-saving organ transplant, yet only one in three Australians have joined the Australian Organ Donor Register. This is despite figures showing that more than 80 per cent of us see organ donation registration is important.

This low national figure is despite last year a record number of lives being saved through organ donation. In 2016, 406 lives were saved due to the generosity of 140 deceased Victorian donors and their families. Victoria contributed almost 30 per cent – the highest of the states – to the total donor pool.

This DonateLife Week Australians are being invited to make their decision count by joining the Australian Organ Donor Register.

Led by the Organ and Tissue Authority, DonateLife Week is a key part of the national reform program to increase organ and tissue donation and transplantation outcomes.

And registration is important – nine in 10 families agree to donation proceeding when the deceased is a registered organ donor. This drops to just 52 per cent where the deceased was not registered and the family had no prior knowledge.

Organ and tissue donation is the ultimate gift. 

By registering your decision to become an organ donor you can save up to 10 lives and improve the lives of so many more.

You can also save your family added grief by having that donation conversation with them and then telling them of your intentions.

Although it is up to the individuals to sign up to organ donation, once they die it is up to the family to agree. It is a tough choice for families, at a time when they are already grieving.

During DonateLife Week, which ends this Sunday, join the Australian Organ Donor Register online, and discuss your donation decision with your family and friends.

To become an organ or tissue donor, go to  at donatelife.gov.au.