April 22, 2024

England to adopt ‘opt-out’ system for organ donation

80% in favour of organ donation, but few donate

The British Parliament will soon pass a bill making all adults in England presumed organ donors unless they have explicitly opted out. Wales already has an opt-out system and the Scottish Parliament is debating the issue. Children and tourists will be exempt.

“We very much hope that once this new law comes into force in spring 2020, we will see similar results to those we have witnessed in Wales, with more people and families agreeing to donation, enabling more lifesaving transplants to take place,” John Forsythe, of NHS Blood and Transplant, told the New York Times.

The legislation will be known as Max and Keira's Law after a 9-year-old boy who received a heart transplant and the girl, also 9, who donated it.

Although surveys show that 80% of adults in England are in favour of organ donation, only 37% have registered to donate.

Michael Cook is editor of BioEdge.  

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