Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Organ Donors: Opt-in or Out-out?

On a historic day, the Welsh assembly have voted through a law that will mean people have to opt-out of the organ donation register. Effectively in Wales, people will automatically be considered as a donor when they die, unless they have expressly 'opted-out' of the register.

It was discussed on this blog last year about how the ethical dilemma presented by the fact it was easy to sign people up to the donor register, and that you could save lives by signing up your friends and family with them not knowing.... read more <here>.

It is the first part of the UK to adopt such a law, which is already in place in a number of other countries and could be in force by 2015.

The aim of the aim of the Bill is to increase the number of organs available from Wales, potentially by 25%. It is important to remember that not every organ is suitable for donation, nor is it necessarily easy to find a match. It is hoped that the number of donors rise from around 65 donors to 80 and that from these additional donors, there would be a further 26 kidneys, 10 livers, two hearts and four lungs available for transplant - all potentially saving a life.

It is not as easy as some people think to make a correlation between signing up, then donating organs and then saving a life. According to the NHS Blood and Transplant service, it is fewer than 5,000 people that die every year in the UK in circumstances that would allow them to donate successfully.

However, it is estimated there are around 250 people in the UK on a waiting list for a transplant at any one time, with 33 people in Wales died in 2012/13 while waiting. Surely if even a few of these could be saved, the law would be worth while?

The counter-argument revolves around the fact that some people do not like the idea that the State takes charge of the dead body, using it as they see fit. Also people want to know what clauses there will be if a family are against donation from a loved one, will it forcibly take place?

It certainly creates a few ethical questions will no doubt be asked over the next few years in Wales.

Do you agree an opt-out system is better? Despite it only saving a few more lives, is it worth it? How do you think the people of Wales will feel? Do you think it is right that the State can interfere like this? What clauses would you like to see in the new law?

Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-politics-23143236
Read more with further detail on the 'For' and 'Against': http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/debate/should-we-move-to-an-optout-system-of-organ-donation-8375859.html

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