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04th Jan 2019

Organ donation set to become ‘opt out’ system in Ireland under new law

Jade Hayden

Simon Harris

Organ donation is set to become ‘opt out’ in Ireland under a new law.

The legislation will presume consent for organ donation after death unless stated otherwise.

Under the current law, the decision to donate after death resides with the next-of-kin, irrespective of whether the deceased person carried a donor card.

The proposed Human Tissue Bill, which will go before Cabinet early this year, seeks to introduce a system where a deceased person would have consented to the donation of their major organs unless stated otherwise.

These include the heart, kidneys, liver, and lungs where a person passed away in circumstances that make donation possible.

In circumstances where a person has not opted out, their next-of-kin will be consulted prior to any organ removal after death. If the next-of-kin does not give consent, no organs will be removed.

If a person signs the opt out register, their next-of-kin will not be consulted about organ donation.

Minister for Health Simon Harris has said that he hopes the legislation will encourage people to discuss organ donation more freely.

“It is my goal to make organ donation the norm in Ireland when people pass away in circumstances in which donation is a possibility,” he said.

The draft Bill was approved for publication last year, however progress on the legislation has been considerably slower than expected.

The opt out system was first recommended to the government over 10 years ago.