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Law on organ donation in England has changed

Law on organ donation

This week is Organ Donation Week, run by the NHS Blood and Transplant service but did you know that the law on organ donation in England changed earlier this year, when the opt out system came into effect in England on 20 May 2020.

Who do the changes affect?

The changes that came into play in May of 2020 affect all adults in England and unless you have recorded a decision not to donate on the NHS Organ Donor Register, or you are in an excluded group it will be considered that, when you die, you agree to donate your organs.

You still have a choice about whether you become a donor and your faith, beliefs and culture will continue to be respected. Get the facts about organ donation to help you decide.

The law on organ donation in other parts of the UK?

The laws on organ donation vary across different countries in the United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland) and the Crown dependencies of Jersey, Guernsey, and the Isle of Man.

Find out more about the current legislative position for each of those areas, and the choices you can make.

Have you considered becoming a living donor?

Today, as part of this week’s series of articles to highlight this Organ Donation Week, run by the NHS Blood and Transplant service (NHSBT), we look at the option of being a ‘living donor’.

Across the UK, more than 1,000 people each year donate a kidney, or part of their liver, while they are still alive to a relative, friend or someone they do not know.

The most commonly donated organ by a living person is a kidney. A healthy person can lead a normal life with only one functioning kidney and therefore, they are able to donate the other to help someone in need of a kidney transplant.

Part of a liver can also be transplanted from a living donor to help someone in need of a liver transplant.

Why are more living organ donors needed?

In the UK, around 5,000 people are in need of a kidney transplant to transform their lives, and hundreds of patients die each year waiting for a transplant due to a shortage of organ donors.

The average waiting time for a kidney transplant from someone who has died is more than two and a half years. For some ethnic groups and people for whom it is difficult to find a compatible donor, the wait is even longer. Sadly, some people die waiting.

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Published on 11 September 2020