How do I make my decision count?

One of the first steps you can take to ensure your wishes are followed through is to have a simple discussion with your partner, family and friends.

Family or next-of-kin are consulted in the organ and tissue donation process, and if they don't know their loved one's decision, not only will their decision be made much harder, it is possible organ donation will not go ahead.

Currently only an average of 50 percent of families consent to organ donation of a loved one across Australia, with one of the main reasons families say 'no' because they are unaware of their loved one's wishes.

It is also important to register on the Australian Organ Donor Register (AODR). In the event of a death, where the patient is a potential donor, information about their decision will be accessed by a suitably qualified member of the medical staff from the AODR and provided to their family.

In January 2005, AODR become a register of legal consent and is the only official national register for organ and tissue donation. Although in some states in Australia you can still tick a box on your license, this process does not ensure you will become an organ and/or tissue donor.

The AODR ensures your consent (or objection) to donating organs and tissue for transplantation and can be verified 24 hours a day, seven days a week by authorised medical personnel, anywhere in Australia.

It is rare for a donation not to go ahead because the family or next-of-kin do not agree with their loved one's decision.

You are more likely to need a transplant than to ever become an organ donor.