News

Organ Donation Rates website launches during Donate Life Week 2014



25 February 2014

The Network for Bodies, Organs and Tissues (NBOT) at Sydney Law School has launched a first-of-its-kind website that provides data on organ donation rates around the world
The Network for Bodies, Organs and Tissues (NBOT) at Sydney Law School has launched a first-of-its-kind website that provides data on organ donation rates around the world

The Network for Bodies, Organs and Tissues (NBOT) at Sydney Law School has launched a first-of-its-kind website that provides data on organ donation rates around the world, coinciding with Donate Life Week 2014.

OrganDonationRates.org is a comprehensive resource on worldwide donation trends for members of the public, for researchers interested in organ donation and for policy makers responsible for making decisions to improve organ donation practices.

"Building on the work of some of our best researchers, we have brought together all the available data on organ donation from around the world and provided it to user in easy-to-use and understand formats. This is a world first," said Professor Cameron Stewart from the Organ Donation Rates project team.

The site includes an interactive map and graphs that show trends for both deceased and living organ donations, which include solid organs such as the heart, liver, pancreas, kidneys, lungs and intestines. It also tracks organ and tissue transplants, how donation policy affects rates, and religious factors in donation numbers.

Of deceased organ donations, the most common are from brain death (DBD), often from patients who have suffered injuries that lead to death such as strokes or traffic accidents.

While much less frequent, the site also tracks deceased donations from cardio-circulatory death (DCD) resulting from cardiac arrest. Living donations are most typically of the kidneys, but part of the liver or lung can also be given.

Australian donation rates are quite low overall, with only approximately 361 deceased donations in 2012. Countries with the overall highest donation rates include Spain, Portugal, the USA and France.

"One of the things we hope to shed light on is why Australia continues to fare poorly in organ donation rankings. By bringing the international data together we hope to shine a light on the problems of organ donation and dispel some of the myths about how we could improve organ donation schemes," said Professor Stewart.

A number of countries have a system whereby organ donors must first opt-in (explicit consent) to be a donor, whereas in many countries there are opt-out (presumed consent) donations. While some of the countries near the top of the rankings use opt-out consent, many of the countries near the bottom also do, so statistics on OrganDonationRates.org show that opt-out donations don't necessarily lead to higher overall donation rates.

The Organ Donation Rates project is overseen by Sydney Law School's Centre for Health Governance, Law and Ethics and Sydney Medical School's Centre for Values, Ethics and Law in Medicine (VELiM). The project is funded under the University of Sydney's Sydney Research Network Scheme (SyReNS). The site will be updated bi-annually in March and October.


Contact: Kate Mayor

Phone: 02 9351 2208 or 0434 561 056

Email: 3834223d4137500a0d1a3923342236140f592955467c1043