Organ Donation



There are nearly 1800 people on waiting lists for organ transplants in Australia, of those 40 per cent per year can expect to receive a life-saving transplant. While Australia has a low rate of organ donation, we have a very high rate of organ transplant success. There is a need for greater awareness and wider discussion of the facts and fallacies concerning organ and tissue donation, to dispel fears and myths and to allow doctors to perform more life-improving and often life-saving transplant operations.




n       Draw the outline of a body and identify the organs that can be successfully transplanted.


n       If an organ is not available will a mechanical part do? What do you have around that house that could replace your organs, e.g. a food processor for the stomach, a sieve for intestines, etc? Create a mechanical man from machines and things you might find around the house.


n       Draw a diagram to explain how the immune system works and why the body sometimes rejects transplanted organs. How has science overcome this problem?


n       Recording what a person wants done with their body parts after their death is not easy. Develop an organ donation card that is simple to read and easy to use.


n       You have been given the job as promotions manager for an organ donation register. Develop four slogans that can be used on bumper stickers, fridge magnets, badges and sky writing to promote organ donation.


n       Some famous people have had kidney transplants, e.g. Charles Perkins and recently Jimmy Little. Until undergoing transplant surgery they required daily dialysis. Make an annotated diagram describing the function of the kidneys and how dialysis works.


n       To overcome the shortage of transplant organs much research is going into the use of animal organs to replace human organs. How would you feel being the first person to receive a pig's heart? List the positive and negative emotions you would experience. Work in small groups to produce a 2-minute scenario depicting one of these emotions.


n       In two columns list the positive and negative points about being an organ donor and organ recipient.


n       In a table under the headings Heart, Lungs, Skin, Kidney, Liver list the problems that can occur to these organs and the preventative measures you can take to keep these organs healthy. Write a personal commitment with three strategies to stay healthy.


n       Write a number fact box about organ donation include information such as, the percentage of successful transplants, the number of transplants performed in a year, the number of people on organ waiting lists, etc.


n       Conduct a survey of at least 5 people from different cultures or religious backgrounds about their views on organ donation. Compile the class's results to help identify which cultures and religions do and don't support organ donation.


n       Develop a timeline of events that paved the way to the current successful organ transplant system that operates in our hospitals today.





The official website of the NSW and ACT organ donor co ordinating authority. It includes some basic information on services, contacts and will soon include an education section.


David Hookes Foundation

The newly established foundation aiming to encourage more people to donate organs and to talk to their families about doing so.


The History of Transplantation

A brief timeline of some of the major breakthroughs in transplant science.


Organ Transplants

Looks at some of the religious and ethical issues raised by organ transplants.



This site will not only help you answer most of your questions about transplants and organ donation but will also enable you to register as an organ donor.




Organ Transplants

By Justin Healey

Covers the facts of organ transplants and takes a look at some of the fallacies, myths and the debate particularly over controversial topics such as xenografts or transplants of animal organs to humans. (The Spinney Press)


Spare Body Parts & Other Weird Science

By Royce Bond and Mitch Vane

A look at some of the weird and wonderful science that is currently being done or may soon be possible including growing spare body parts. (Hodder)


Encyclopaedia of the Human Body

A comprehensive look at the human body including pioneers in medical science. (Dorling Kindersley)


The Ethics of Organ Transplants

By Arthur Caplan

Examines the debate over the issues surrounding organ procurement and distribution, including the search for new sources of organs, new methods of procurement, and ways to fairly distribute organs. (Prometheus Books)