Living Kidney Donation

For more information on being a kidney donor click on the link below

Organ Donation

Sometimes when people are very ill, the only way they can recover or lead a normal life-style is to receive an organ transplant. This is when a healthy organ (such as heart, kidney or liver) is taken from somebody who has died and transplanted into the person whose own organ is not performing properly.

Organ donation is only possible when a person's brain has died and that person is on a ventilator in a hospital intensive care unit. People who are brain dead cannot breathe on their own, think or feel pain. There is absolutely no chance of recovery.

When the doctors believe that a person's brain is dead extensive tests are carried out. There has to be absolutely no chance of the person recovering. When the person is then declared dead, and if organs are suitable for transplantation, doctors will ask the family to consider organ donation. That is why it is important to tell your family if you want to be an organ donor, as if they are ever faced with such a decision it could be made easier should they know your wishes. There is no pressure on families to donate organs, and the doctors will understand totally should a family decide against it.

Donated organs give recipients the opportunity of a longer and better quality life. This is assisted by constantly improving surgical procedures and powerful drugs to encourage acceptance of the new organ. The success of organ transplants is now extremely good.

Answers to common questions...

Anyone up to 80 years old can be considered as an organ donor.
Your age and medical condition at the time of your death will determine which organs are suitable for donation.
Families can specify which organs and tissue are donated, you do not have to donate everything.
Religions support donation on the grounds that it is a gift of life to another person. If you are in doubt, you should talk to your minister, priest or elder.
Organ donation will not interfere with funeral arrangements such as an open casket, the body of the donor is treated with respect and any incisions are closed as usual after any surgical procedure.

The Need for Organs

At any one time there are about 400 to 500 New Zealanders waiting for the right organs to become available and many more wait for the transplantation of corneas, heart valves, bone or skin. Some of these people will die waiting for a heart, lung or liver. Others will remain very sick and in the case of kidney failure require regular dialysis treatment while waiting for a kidney.

Transplantation has advanced dramatically over the past 20 years. As a result, organs and tissue are transplanted successfully almost every week, saving lives and restoring eyesight, mobility and long term health to hundreds of people.

Organ donors offer the gift of life.

For further information about organ donation in New Zealand
Call 0800 4 DONOR
Or visit