Legislation has been Passed in England to Allow Surgeons to use Organs from the Deceased unless they have Opted Out

Expect more transplants in England now Credit: Tiiu Sild CC

ONE of the reasons that Spain is able to arrange so many organ transplants is because it has an opt out system with regards to donation.

This means that it is assumed that subject to certain medical conditions, surgeons can use the organs of the deceased unless they have actually specified that they are opposed to their use.

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Until now, England has embraced the opt in system whereby unless the deceased carried an organ donor card, it was assumed that they objected to the use of their organs.

This has however all changed as far as England (not Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales) is concerned as today, May 20, ‘Max and Keira’s Law’ was passed following a campaign by Max’s parents as he received a heart transplant from nine-year-old Keira who died in a car accident.

This change means that from now on, anyone over the age of 18 needs to register at the Organ Donation website if they don’t want their organs used and even if you don’t register your family will still be asked whether there is any reason (such as religious belief) why the harvesting of the organs shouldn’t take place.

There are exceptions and clearly as in the case of Keira, family members may give permission for donation if the deceased is under 18.

Currently Wales operates a system known as ‘deemed consent’ which means if you haven’t registered for or against then it is assumed that your organs may be used.

Scotland is reviewing its position and Northern Ireland decided some years ago to retain the opt in policy.


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