Organ donation and laws – Draft

Last Updated on by frcemuser

Who can become an organ donor

  • There is no age limit for becoming an organ donor.
  • Children who are under 12 in Scotland and under 18 in the rest of the UK at the time of registration will require their parent or guardian’s agreement for donation to take place.

Medical conditions 

  • Having an illness or medical condition doesn’t necessarily prevent a person from becoming an organ or tissue donor.
  • A person cannot become an organ donor if they have or are suspected of having:
    • Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD)
    • Ebola virus disease
    • Active cancer -However, it may be possible for people with certain types of cancers to donate after three years of treatment. It may also be possible to donate corneas and some tissue in these circumstances.
    • HIV – In rare cases, the organs of donors with HIV have been used to help others with the same conditions.

Organ donation legislation differs throughout the UK:

Wales:

  • The legislation (December 2015) for Wales is ‘deemed consent’.  This means that if you haven’t registered an organ and tissue donation decision, you will be considered to have no objection to becoming a donor.
  • It will be considered that you agree to become an organ donor when you die, if:
    • you are over 18;
    • you have not opted out;
    • you are not in an excluded group.
  • You can also nominate up to two representatives to make the decision for you. These could be family members, friends, or other people you trust, such as your faith leader.
  • Excluded groups are:
    • Those under the age of 18
    • People who lack the mental capacity to understand the new arrangements and take the necessary action
    • Visitors to Wales, and those not living here voluntarily
    • People who have lived in Wales for less than 12 months before their death

England

  • In England (May 2020) there is an opt-out system.All adults in England are now considered to have agreed to be an organ donor when they die unless they have recorded a decision not to donate or are in one of the excluded groups
  • you agree to become an organ donor when you die, if:
    • you are over 18;
    • you have not opted out;
    • you are not in an excluded group.
  • Excluded groups are:
    • Those under the age of 18
    • People who lack the mental capacity to understand the new arrangements and take the necessary action
    • Visitors to England, and those not living here voluntarily
    • People who have lived in England for less than 12 months before their death

Scotland

  • The legislation for Scotland is ‘deemed authorisation’. This means that if you have not confirmed whether you want to be a donor or not, you will be considered to be willing to donate your organs and tissue when you die.
  • Exclusion
    • Adults without capacity to understand the deemed authorisation law
    • Adults who have lived in Scotland for less than 12 months before their death
    • Children under the age of 16
  • If a person in one of these groups set out by the law dies in a way that means they could donate, and they haven’t already recorded a donation decision, then their closest family member will be asked whether they wish to authorise donation.

Northern Ireland

  • The current legislation for Northern Ireland is to opt in to organ and tissue donation. In 2020 the Department of Health in Northern Ireland announced a consultation on proposed changes to an opt out system of consent for organ donation.

For any patient for whom a decision has been made to withdraw life-sustaining treatment, a discussion should be held with the Specialist Nurse for Organ Donation (SNOD)

 

 

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