Most deceased donors are those who have been pronounced brain dead.
Is it best to have a donation system where people have to opt in or opt out? To investigate, a team of researchers from the UK have analyzed the organ donation protocols of 48 countries to see which approach is working best. In the US, a new patient is added to the waiting list for an organ transplant every 10 minutes.
With an opt-in system, people have to actively sign up to a register to donate their organs after death. In opt-out systems, organ donation will occur automatically unless a specific request is made before death for organs not to be taken.
Eamonn Ferguson, lead author from the University of Nottingham, UK, acknowledges that because the two systems are reliant on an active decision from individuals, it can lead to drawbacks: In contrast, inaction in an opt-out system can potentially lead to an individual that does not want to donate becoming a donor a false positive.
The US currently uses an opt-in system. Around 79 people receive organ transplants every day. Unfortunately, around 18 people die every day, unable to have surgery due to a shortage of donated organs. Researchers from the University of Nottingham, University of Stirling and Northumbria University in the UK analyzed the organ donation systems of 48 countries for a period of 13 years - 23 using an opt-in system and 25 using an opt-out system.
The study authors measured overall donor numbers, numbers of transplant per organ and the total number of kidneys and livers transplanted from both deceased and living donors.
They found that countries using opt-out systems of organ donation had higher total numbers of kidneys donated - the organ that the majority of people on organ transplant lists are waiting for. Opt-out systems also had the greater overall number of organ transplants.
Opt-in systems did, however, have a higher rate of kidney donations from living donors.
The apparent influence that policy had on living donation rates "has not been reported before," says Prof. Ferguson, "and is a subtlety that needs to be highlighted and considered. The observational nature of the study means that other factors that may influence organ donation remained unassessed.NHS England’s new “opt-out” system for organ donation, planned for roll-out by , is “unlikely” to increase the number of donations, according to .
Feb 16, · The country has decided to try a system for organ donation that would give transplant priority to patients who have agreed to donate their own organs.
But the British Medical Association thinks there should be an opt-out donation system, with safeguards for organ donation, so that more people will donate and more people waiting for . The Scottish government is to legislate for an opt-out as opposed to an opt-in system for organ donation.
More information about your choices regarding organ donation. In opt-out programs where the default is being an organ donor, there are higher donor rates. The government is taking a stance and telling people what it recommends, and this greatly affects how people respond.
One of the major criticisms of the opt-out program is that .