Organ donation to be recognised on ACT death certificates

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Human Rights Minister Tara Cheyne. Photo: Holly Treadaway.

FROM today (May 6), families of organ or tissue donors in Canberra can have their loved one’s donation acknowledged on the death register and on their death certificate.

A donor’s next of kin can apply to have the statement: “The deceased gave a gift of life, generously donating organs/tissue” added to the death register and the donor’s death certificate. A letter from the Chief Minister to the donor’s family acknowledging the donation can also be requested if the family so chooses. 

To be eligible, donors must have passed away in the ACT, which is the first jurisdiction in Australia to provide these options to families.

“Organ and tissue donations transform and save many lives across the country each year,” said Human Rights Minister Tara Cheyne.

“While there are a number of ways in which organ and tissue donation is acknowledged, families have consistently stressed to me that there would be value in having further formal options to have their loved one’s gift recognised.”

Chris Fonda, whose partner Quinn died and donated his organs in 2018, welcomed the reforms.

“Making the decision to donate is very difficult for donor families who are coming to terms with a huge loss,” says Chris.

“Even though the grief is still with me, knowing part of Quinn lives on in others feels like he still exists and gives transplant recipients a life to cherish as much as I cherished Quinn.

Chris Fonda (left) and his partner Quinn.

“Quinn gave the gift of life to complete strangers, which reinforces his selflessness and altruistic nature in his life on earth. To have his gift acknowledged by the Chief Minister is special, and will help me continue to heal. 

“I know Quinn would have wanted his organ donation acknowledged and included on his death certificate, and these changes make me feel like I have fulfilled his wishes.”

The options to families will not be time-limited and death certificates previously issued, including from before the reforms came into effect, can be amended to include the acknowledgement at no extra cost.

To apply for the acknowledgement visit act.gov.au/organdonation. For more information on organ donation visit donatelife.gov.au

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