Donating organs after death is a wonderful, life-giving gift. However, finding out how to donate a person’s organs is complicated. It requires detailed research and communication with quite a few different institutions. And it’s dependent on things like timing, the age of the donor and how they died.
If you are arranging a donation for a loved one who has just passed away, it can be quite time consuming and traumatic process too.
To enable the necessary procedure, decisions need to be made very quickly. So, it’s important to consider the impact this will have on you, and your loved ones.
At Tomorrow Funerals, we’ve put together this guide to make it as simple as possible to understand what criteria is required and how to go about the process of donating organs, after a death, in Victoria.
When we contacted the following organisations for information, their overall attitude was one of gratitude. They were so thankful that people would consider making such a generous and life-saving donation. But at the same time, they wanted to be clear that they must follow strict guidelines, and that their donors meet certain criteria.
Remember that after the process of donation is complete, you will need to speak with them about arranging a transfer of your loved one’s body back to the family-appointed funeral director for funeral arrangements.
We suggest the first step is to contact DonateLife Victoria. This is the organisation who take care of donations of the major bodily organs, in Victoria.
CONTACT: Find your local DonateLife centre here
ELIGIBILTY: To be considered as an organ donor after death, a person must die in an ICU ward and (usually) be connected a ventilator.
THE PROCESS: A specialist staff member will liaise closely with family to provide support and information throughout. Organs such as the heart, lungs, liver and pancreas are matched by blood group, size, compatibility and urgency. Kidneys are matched by blood group and tissue compatibility.
Donor Tissue Bank of Victoria
If the donating organs is not possible due to the manner in which your loved one died, there are other ways to donate. The Donor Tissue Bank of Victoria supplies Australian surgeons tissue grafts for transplantation in orthopaedic, cardiothoracic, reconstructive surgery and burn care.
- Business hours: 9684 4706 / 9684 4426
- After hours: 0407 326 705
ELIGIBILTY: To be considered as a donor, a person must be aged between 3 months to 70 years, dependent on tissue groups.
THE PROCESS: Donation must occur within 24 hours of death. Therefore, the process occurs quite quickly.
A tissue donation Nurse will call the family to discuss donation, obtain their consent, and complete a medical and social questionnaire to help determine suitability for tissue donation.
If the person is suitable for tissue donation, they will be transferred to the Donor Tissue Bank of Victoria in Southbank, where the donation will occur.
Lions Eye Donation Service (Centre for eye research Australia)
The Lions Eye Donation Service assists recipients in both Australia and New Zealand with cutting edge sight-saving operations, made possible because someone chose to donate their cornea after their death.
CONTACT: (03)9929 8360
To be considered as a donor, a person must be:
- Be aged 5 – 80 years
- Have no haematological malignancies
- Have no infectious disease (eg. HIV, Hep B, Hep C)
- Have no progressive neurological disorder (eg AD, PD, MND, MS, CJD)
- Have no viraemia, fungaemia (bacteraemia ok)
- Have no neurodegenerative risk (UK travel history 1980-1996)
- Have no lifestyle risks
PROCESS: The process of eye tissue donation is a simple and quick procedure that will occur within 24 hours of the death of your loved one.
The procedure itself is non-invasive and requires no incisions or sutures, so the appearance of your loved one will remain unchanged.
Things to think about in terms of organ donation.
It could be that your loved one was passionate about being a donor, however if their body is not eligible for donation because of age or circumstance, there are other ways you can honour them and create a lasting legacy.
You could contact any of the organisations above and ask them about setting up a donation page on your loved ones’ behalf. This could be suggested to family and friends instead (in lieu) of sending flowers. Alternatively, there might be another charity that fits with the life and memory of your person.
The donation of your loved one’s body to help another person is a very personal choice, but it’s one that can have a truly life changing effect for the receiver.
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