Myths about Organ and Tissue Donation

Fact: 1600 Australians are on transplant waiting lists
Fact: 44% of Australians have not made a decision about organ donation
Fact: 40% have not discussed their decision with loved ones

Research by the Organ and Tissue Authority reveals shows some common myths discouraging Australians from organs and tissue donation.

MYTH: It’s better to just let my family decide at the time
FACT: If you want to be an organ or tissue donor, please tell your family. The main reason families decline donation is because they don’t know what their loved one wanted.

MYTH: Organ and tissue donation is against my religion
FACT: Almost all religions support organ and tissue donation as an act of compassion and generosity. Donation processes can accommodate religious and cultural requirements.

MYTH: I’m too old to be an organ and tissue donor
FACT: Age is not a barrier. People over 80 have become organ and tissue donors.

MYTH: I’m not healthy enough to donate because of my lifestyle choices
FACT: You don’t have to be in perfect health. People who smoke, drink or don’t have a healthy diet can still donate. The determining factors are where and how a person dies, and condition of their organ and tissues.

MYTH: Organ and tissue donation disfigures the body
FACT: Organ donation is specialised surgery and does not disfigure the body. The surgical incision is closed and covered as in any operation and not visible beneath the person’s clothes.

MYTH: If I have registered as a donor, doctors won’t try as hard to save my life
FACT: A doctor’s first priority is always to save your life. Donation is only considered when it’s clear the person has died or that death is inevitable.

MYTH: Enough people donate so if I ever needed a transplant, I could get one
FACT: More than 1,600 people are on transplant waiting lists at any one time. Don’t put off making your decision – register your decision to donate and discuss it with your loved ones.

(Sources: Woolcott Research 2014; Woolcott Research 2015; DonateLife Audit 2014, OTA Donor Family Study 2014).
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