Organ Donors

Organ Donors

Organ donation can save lives and improve the health of those in need. According to the Ministry of Health, around 550 people are waiting for a transplant at any given time and sadly, some of them won’t survive without one.

Respecting your loved one’s wishes

New Zealand doesn’t have a national register for recording people’s consent to being organ donors. If your loved one has not explicitly expressed to you or their family that they would like to be a donor in the event of their death, you could check their driver’s licence, but this in itself is not enough evidence of informed consent to organ donation. It will however indicate to medical staff that they are a potential donor, who will then ask for the permission of the family.

It’s important to remember that even if your loved one hasn’t stated their wishes to be an organ donor, you can still make that decision on their behalf if you believe it’s what they would have wanted. The most important thing is to ensure that their wishes are respected and that they are given the opportunity to make a positive impact even after they’ve passed away.

Did you know?

In 2022, 63 people donated organs following their death in New Zealand.

How does the organ donation process work?

If your loved one is an organ donor, the process around organ donation will vary depending on the circumstances of their passing. Medical professionals will work to determine their eligibility for donation based on their medical history and other factors. In most cases, the family will be consulted and asked to provide consent before the donation can proceed.

The Organ Donation New Zealand Donor Coordinators will provide support and follow-up to loved ones before and following the donation. They will be able to provide brief details about the recipients of your loved one’s organs if you wish to receive this information.

Will organ donation affect funeral arrangements?

The short answer is that your loved ones’ funeral arrangements should not be affected by organ or tissue donation. Your loved ones’ organs will be removed in a respectful and dignified manner in a normal surgical procedure. It is still possible for you to take your loved one’s body back home or to your marae and have an open casket following the donation.

Recording your wishes

We have a special section in our Death Planning Tool to capture information if you would like to express your wishes to become an organ donor in the event of your death.

We encourage you to complete your Death Plan to help your family understand and honour your wishes after you die.

The most important thing is to ensure your loved one's wishes are respected.