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Organ Donation

If you live in Wales, today is the last day of opt-in organ donation. From tomorrow, December 1st 2015, the presumption will be in favour of organ donation rather than against it. In other words, instead of having to opt in to become an organ donor, from tomorrow you will have to opt out.

Lots of countries use the opt out system, including Spain, Austria and Belgium, so it's not exactly groundbreaking. It is new to the UK though and it's exciting news for the nearly 400 people waiting for organ transplants in Wales. Across the UK there are over 7,000 people on the waiting list, and about 1,200 die each year because of the shortage of suitable organs.

The new system is aimed at improving that figure by increasing the number of potential donors. Because, while polls suggest 90% of the Welsh population supports organ donation, only around 30% are actually signed up as a donor. It's effort and, as we all know, humans prefer procrastination.

Graphic: one organ donor can save eight lives
From a post with more in-depth info on UK organ donation.

Of course, when the idea first hit the public domain there were concerns of potential abuse. To allay those fears the new law will only apply to individuals over the age of 18 who die in Wales after being resident here for at least a year. Relatives will still have the right to refuse consent, just as they do under the current opt-in system.

I understand why some people personally don't want to donate their organs - there are religious reasons, personal reasons, all kinds of reasons. But, if you feel that strongly against it, all you need to do is register HERE.

If the new system saves just one extra life then, as far as I'm concerned, it will be well worth it.

Update 2018: The new system was slow to deliver any notable results; numbers of deceased organ donors actually fell in 2016. It's difficult to say to what extent that is the law or a drop in eligible donors. The stats show us categorically that familial consent is up from 44.4% in 2014 to 64.5% in 2017, but there were still 21 cases where the family overrode presumed consent (and in some cases actual stated consent of the deceased) of eligible donors in 2016/17.

A new public information campaign is underway in response to this because support for the law is generally high. Consent rates in Wales are now at 72%, with approximately 24.3 donors per million population. Hopefully this will begin to translate to noticeably increased transplant rates.

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Politics and Opinion


  1. I am so happy about this and can't wait for tomorrow, I've been on the donor register since I was 14 and SB has been signed up since she was 8 months old, it's so important and this is going to make such a difference! It's something I'm really passionate about - I did my dissertation about donation and managed to get a load of people to sign up. Great post #MarvMondays

    1. Oh, wow, that sounds like an awesome dissertation topic! I was so pleased when the law passed, the easier the process the better. My OH's uncle has been campaigning in New Zealand for years after his daughter needed a transplant, because you can only sign up to be a donor when you get / renew a driver's licence!

  2. Organ donation is so important. My husband went on the urgent transplant list last year at the age of 34 after sudden heart failure. My babies would of certainly grown up without a Daddy if it wasn't for our donor and the courageous decision his family made. We can't express enough how eternally grateful we are. #MarvMondays

    1. I'm so glad to hear that your husband was okay! It really is so important - and this move just makes sense to me. Lots of people don't think about it much, and don't get round to signing up, but this way it just makes things easier. x

  3. Hi Jessica, this is such a great thing to be aware of. I think its a great thing and will really help with organ donations in the future. Great post and thanks again for linking up to #MarvMondays

    1. I really hope so! If it works well here I hope it's rolled out across the rest of the UK too x

  4. This is amazing! I would like to be a organ donor, but I can't be bothered to do something about it. I'm in my 30s and healthy, so I don't think to much about death. I hope this law will be extended to England too.

    1. That's it, most people don't want to be morbid and make plans for when they're gone! This just kind of removes the need.

  5. I reckon this will happen everywhere eventually - it makes total sense. You're right we don't really put that kind of thing very far up our list of priorities when we are (relatively speaking) young so why not take the matter out of our hands. Thanks for joining in #thetruthabout again X

    1. That's it - it just takes all the hassle out of it! x

  6. I think that it is better to automatically be in and have to opt out than the other way around! So much more selfless. I am definitely in! #thetruthabout


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