Organ and tissue donation

Organ and tissue donation is when a person (a donor) donates their organs or tissues to another person (a recipient).

Donations allow recipients who have damaged organs or tissues to be replaced through a life-saving medical procedure called a transplant.

Why do people need transplants?

A person who needs a transplant is usually very ill. They can be any age, from newborn babies through to older people.

People with end-stage liver, heart or lung failure will die unless they have a transplant, while people with kidney failure can usually be placed on dialysis until a kidney becomes available.

A tissue transplant can in some cases also save lives or greatly improve a recipient's life. For example, donated heart tissue can repair genetic defects in young children and be used to replace diseased valves in adults. Donated eye tissue can prevent blindness and help someone who is partially or completely blind, due to a genetic condition, illness or injury, to see again.

Around 1700 people are officially waiting for an organ transplant at any time in Australia.

What are the different types of donation?

There are 2 types of donation:

  • Deceased – when someone chooses to become a donor after their death.
  • Living – when someone donates a kidney or part of their liver to another person while they are still alive.

All Australians are encouraged to become potential donors.

What organs can be donated?

Organs from the body that can be donated are:

  • heart
  • lungs
  • liver
  • kidneys
  • intestine
  • pancreas.
What tissues can be donated?

Tissues that can be donated are:

  • heart tissue
  • bone
  • tendons
  • ligaments
  • skin
  • eyes.

More information

Find out more about becoming an organ donor.

For further queries or to organise a presentation on the subject at your workplace, sporting or social club, contact DonateLife WA by email or call 9222 0222.


  • A donor is someone who donates their organs or tissues to another person
  • A recipient is someone who previously had damaged organs or tissues and has received a transplant
  • Around 1700 Australians are officially waiting for an organ transplant at any time.
  • There are two different types of donation, deceased or living.
  • All Australians are encouraged to become a potential donor.

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This publication is provided for education and information purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical care. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not imply endorsement and is not intended to replace advice from your healthcare professional. Readers should note that over time currency and completeness of the information may change. All users should seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional for a diagnosis and answers to their medical questions.

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