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Organ Donations Doubled in Last Five Years

 In 2017 there were a record number of deceased organ donations in New Zealand. The total of 73 organ donors represents a 102% increase over the past five years.

At 15.3 donors per million population (DPMP), our organ donation rates are now closer to those of Australia and the United Kingdom.

Thanks to the 73 donors and their families, 215 recipients were able to benefit from heart, lung, liver, kidney or pancreas transplants - double that of 2013. Many more people benefitted from the donation of tissue, including eyes, heart valves and skin.

Organ Donation New Zealand (ODNZ) attributes the steady increase in donors to their on-going Intensive Care Unit (ICU) education program, along with the commitment of ICU staff nationwide.

ODNZ’s Medical Specialist James Judson says that health professionals are identifying more opportunities for donation and having more conversations with families.

Less than 1% of New Zealanders die in a way that allows them to be organ donors. Donation is only possible when a person is in an Intensive Care Unit, on a ventilator (breathing machine), usually with devastating brain damage.

When organ donation is not possible, tissue can often be donated. In 2017 ODNZ facilitated 61 tissue only donations (eyes, heart valves and skin) from people who died in a hospital ward, hospice or at home.

Dr Judson says it is important to remember that all donors come out of human tragedy and that organ and tissue donation would not be possible without the generosity of families at a very difficult time. “Organ Donation NZ sincerely thanks all the families who agreed to donate organs and tissues in 2017.”

“We also thank all the ICU nurses and doctors, and other health professionals involved in organ and tissue donation, for their dedication and support.”

Although the numbers of deceased organ donors are steadily increasing, there are still around 550 people waiting for transplants at any one time.

ODNZ encourages all New Zealanders to have a conversation about donation with their families. “If you do want to be a donor in the event of your death” Judson says, “make sure you let your family know.”



 Number of deceased organ donors

2017 73
2016 61
2015 53
2014 46
2013 36






 Find more information on donation in 2017 and statistics here

For further information, please contact

Rebecca Oliver

ODNZ Communications Advisor



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