Organ Donation – a Rant

I’ll be straight with you from the start. I’m a great believer in organ donation. I carry two donor cards, the general one that many Brits have – and an extra one for the MS Tissue Bank. I’ve blogged before about this and you can read more here:

What got my goat this week was a studio guest on the radio, saying she didn’t want her organs to be used after her death because it’s her body and “The Government” doesn’t have any right to take bits of it off her. (The Welsh Assembly Government has passed legislation for an opt-out system here in Wales.)

Aside from the fact that everyone alive today has benefited to some degree from research carried out on donated bodies / organs, I wondered how she’s react if she needed an organ transplant. And that got me thinking even further…

What if we had a single register for organ donations – it doesn’t even matter whether it’s opt-in or opt-out. But only those on the register would be eligible for organ donations. Or transplants. So a person could only receive a donated organ if they were prepared to donate their own after death.

Let’s rule that there’s a two-year probationary period, too. So you’ve got to be on the register for twenty-four months before you could receive a donated organ. Just in case anyone tried to cheat the system.

That would be fair, wouldn’t it?

5 Responses

  1. So, how would children get on the register? Also, with that probationary period, no transplants for children under two years of age?

    • I’m not saying the rule is perfect, but I know the rate of refusal at the moment is higher with child-deaths. Anything that improves the proportion of organs that do get used must be a good thing.
      And anything that gets us talking about it is a step in the right direction.
      Thanks for asking the question!

    • Of course, if the register ran on an opt-out basis, children would be automatically included. It could be assumed that everyone was on the register unless they opted-out, so the only people the probation would apply to are those who had deliberately left the register.
      Thanks – this is firming the idea up nicely.

      • Great plan – especially the last bit. But – there needs to be a way of protecting children from the stupidity of their parents. If a parent opts their child out of the register, the child will suffer if they fall ill. You also need an amnesty for people who aren’t eligible to be donors (eg HIV positive people)

      • Is it ever possible to protect children from the stupidity of their parents? -Good point. If the register was an opt-out, so consent was assumed, then children would automatically be on the register until they reached the age of donor-consent. There are certainly people who refuse transplants on behalf of their children, even now.
        People with HIV, etc are still allowed to be donors, but their organs will not be used for transplant. I’m not allowed to give blood (because of MS), but they’ll happily take whatever is left for research purposes. 🙂

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