Changes To Organ Donation Means You Now Opt Out

Today, Wednesday 20 May 2020, a change to English law now determines that all adults will now be considered as organ donors when they die.

This can only be changed if the person has opted out of organ donation or the deceased’s family intervenes.

It is believed that this change in the law, named Max and Keira’s law after a boy whose life was saved when he received the heart of a nine-year old girl who had passed away, will save around 700 lives each year.

However, if a donor has opted in, their family still have to provide their consent. If consent is given, it enables the transplant team to glean additional and relevant information about the organs and tissues donated.

Opt out has already up and running in Wales since 2015, and over the five years it’s been running it has been seen as a huge success.

Helen Gillan, General Manager of Tissue and Eye Services at NHS Blood and Transplant, said:

“Since Wales introduced an opt-out system, their consent rate has risen from 58% to 75%.”

It is said in England, 80% of adults say they would consider being an organ donor. However, less than 40% have signed up to the current register.

It is hoped that the English consent rate will rise similarly to that of Wales.

Those who have been fortunate enough to receive an organ donation have welcome the change in the law, as they hope more recipients will find a match.

Andy Coghlan, 34,  was born with a heart defect called Tetralogy of Fallot and aged 15 he received a new heart valve after being matched with a donor.

He said:

“[Signing the register] is the sort of thing you think ‘oh yeah I should really do that’ and they you don’t do it.”

He added:

“Personally I think it is fantastic because it will save more lives, that is the bottom line for me.”

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