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Organ donation: Should consent be presumed?

The One Show Team | 15:27 UK time, Thursday, 1 October 2009

Many people in the UK will have to deal with the prospect of a loved one requiring an organ transplant at some point in their lives.

Lucy Siegle has been looking into the debate for 'presumed consent' for organ donation as a way to increase participation. Currently, people wishing to donate their organs must first sign up to the organ donor register.

Under new proposals for 'presumed consent,' it would be assumed automatically that everyone has agreed to organ donation, unless they have previously opted out. It is hoped that this would reduce the massive shortfall in organs required for the 8,000 to 10,000 who currently require an organ transplant.

However, there are concerns that 'presumed consent' may not boost donation rates as previously thought. The UK Organ Donation Taskforce was set up to investigate and found that even if consent is presumed, families would still be able to refuse organ donation. This would lead to fewer new take ups that originally thought.

Regardless of whether the system is implemented or not, what's clear is that it's advisable for those wishing to sign up to the Organ Donation Register to speak to their close family members about their decision, so they're well informed of their request beforehand.

Should consent for organ donation be presumed?
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