UPDATE  – With over 3,000 Signatures currently, we intend to keep seeking support for our petition to ask Government to review the current system.

Dear Minister Sussan Ley,

Australia needs more Zaidees. We need an opt-out organ and tissue donor registration system.

My name is Allan and 10 years ago my family tragically lost our 7 year old daughter, Zaidee, to a cerebral aneurism.

Zaidee was the only child in Victoria under the age of 16 years and one of the youngest Australians to donate her organs and tissues. She was only 1 of 6 children nationally to have donated their organs that year.

As a family we had been registered as organ and tissue donors for 5 years. This decision, and Zaidee’s wish to be a donor, meant that the lives of 7 people (6 children and 1 adult) were improved and in some cases saved by Zaidee’s gift.

In 2004, the year we lost Zaidee, 130,000 Australians died, of which only 218 were organ donors. Zaidee’s gift of her organs allowed others to have another birthday. If people do not register as organ donors, 1 in 5 people on the transplant waiting list will never get the chance to have another birthday.

Currently Australians must opt-in to become a registered organ donor. This means that many people who intend to be donors either do not register before their death, or are unaware of the process. An opt-out system would increase the number of organ and tissue donations each year, reduce the number of people waiting for a transplant, and inspire every Australian to have a honest discussion about their wishes to be, or not be, a donor.

An opt-out system would save lives.

Why is this important?

On any given day, there are at least 1,550 Australians waiting for a transplant, many of whom are children. Of the 150,000 Australians who die each year, less than 400 will donate solid organs, leaving at least 1,100 people still waiting for an organ transplant.

It is estimated that just under 1% of people that die in hospitals can potentially be an organ donor – that’s approximately 75,000 potential organ and tissue donors per year.

Spain, the country with the world’s highest rate of organ donation, has an opt-out system in place.

An opt-out system would not mean that all hospital deaths were automatically considered an organ or tissue donor. What it does mean is that everyone is considered a possible donor unless they, or their immediate family, remove them from the register.

An opt-out system is just one step towards saving lives, but it’s an important one. Let’s make this change now – for the 1,550 people waiting for a lifesaving organ donation, there’s no time to waste.

How it will be delivered

Our organisation, Zaidee’s Rainbow Foundation, will deliver a copy of all signatures to the Health Minister, who has the power to implement this change. 

7 Responses

  1. Paula Hemmings
    Paula Hemmings at |

    Opting out is the only way to make people think abou this.

  2. Nick Green
    Nick Green at |

    An opt-out system would increase donation rates, save live, and still preserve the freedom for the (comparatively small) number of conscientious objectors of organ donation from being part of the system (e.g. for religious reasons).

    An opt-out system is efficient, and supported by a range of health professionals, economists, and community organisations, in part due to its success overseas. The book ‘Nudge’ gave a good overview of an opt-out organ donation system.

  3. Liz Riordan
    Liz Riordan at |

    Do you have a generic-type letter and/or a contact for the Federal Health Minister, as I would like to add my voice to the proposal that all Australians be organ donors unless they decide to opt out. As a 68 yr old potential organ donor, mother and grandmother of 10, I am passionate about this vital change. Regards Liz Riordan

  4. Ruth McFayden
    Ruth McFayden at |

    Dear Health Minister,

    May I strenuously support the suggestion that our country adopts the practice of mandatory organ donation unless otherwise requested by an individual.

    Ruth McFayden

  5. Jane
    Jane at |

    An opt out system would probably not make a huge difference because apparently medical staff have to get consent from the next-of-kin before they can use the organs! Unless that is changed too. Then I guess you’d have people up in arms because doctors were taking the organs of their loved ones without their consent! It’s a very complex situation and when a loved one dies there are a lot of emotions involved.

  6. Peter Cardamone
    Peter Cardamone at |

    Sadly, at 31 years of age, I was forced to wait for 7 years on dialysis
    (2001-2008) for my thankful, life-saving kidney transplant. For those of you not familiar with dialysis, google it and see what sort of deplorable lifestyle a person on dialysis endures.
    In 2007 I contacted my local MP at the time and met with her presenting statistical and analytical information on how inefficient the organ donation system was and suggestions on improving it. I later in fact received through the MP letters from Daniel Andrews, Victorian Health Minister at the time and also Nicola Roxin, Federal Health Minister with a response and thanking me for the valuable information provided and also stated that the Government would in fact spend millions of dollars to advertise and promote Organ Donation in Australia. Obviously nothing instigated, changed or achieved to today for Organ Donation in Australia.
    An opt- out system as I also suggested back then, like in Europe works and achieves high rates of Organ Donation!!! The Government now needs to make a swift change to adopt an opt-out system. This change will in fact achieve realistic donation rates, for the benefit for all Australians on a Organ Transplant waiting list and for anyone that requires an organ or tissue transplant in the future. Organ Donation is the “Gift of Life!”


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