Organ Donation

Opt In or Opt Out

NHSBT welcomes any debate that raises the value and importance of transplantation and increases the general public's knowledge of the importance of organ and tissue donation.

Transplant services in the UK are renowned for the honest, open and transparent manner in which they operate. This is due, in part, to the fact that consent has always been an integral part of the process of donating organs for transplant.

The Human Tissue Acts introduced in 2006 reinforce the importance of giving consent for donation. Many people have found it difficult to accept that relatives could overturn any wish they may have registered or expressed during their lifetime but the law makes it explicit that it is the wishes of the deceased individual that should prevail.

The important issue is that people discuss their decision to donate organs so that close family members and friends are aware. As much as possible should be done to persuade people to join the NHS Organ Donor Register by calling 0300 123 23 23 or via www.organdonation.nhs.uk

NHSBT is neither against nor in favour of a change to presumed consent legislation. We will continue to promote the need for more voluntary registrations on the Organ Donor Register. We will work within whatever legislative framework is introduced in any of the four health administrations in the United Kingdom.

In 2013 a new UK strategy - Taking Transplantation to 2020 was published by the four UK Health Ministers and John Pattullo - Chair of NHS Blood and Transplant. The aim of the strategy is to enable the UK to match world-class performance in organ donation and transplantation.

The strategy makes reference to the Welsh Government move to introduce legislation to bring in a soft opt-out system for consent to organ donation. The Human Transplantation (Wales) Act 2013 introduces a soft opt-out system for consent to deceased organ and tissue donation from 1 December 2015.

NHSBT will continue to support the Welsh Government as it implements the deemed consent legislation in December 2015 and deliver the new NHS Organ Donor Register (across the UK) needed to support the new law's implementation.

More detailed information about the change and the communications campaign to promote the law and the choices available to people living in Wales is available here. http://organdonationwales.org/?lang=en

It is expected that the other UK countries will watch this change with interest to see the impact on consent and donation rates. Contact details for each country can be found here: http://www.nhsbt.nhs.uk/to2020/contact-us/

Updated March 2015

Information for the public in Wales: Organ donation is changing in Wales

If you live in Wales, you need to know that from 1 December 2015, Wales will be the first UK country to introduce a soft opt-out system for organ and tissue donation.

So from 1 December 2015, if you have not registered a decision to opt-in or opt-out of organ donation, you will be treated as having no objection to being an organ donor. This is called deemed consent.

Your choices

So, from 1 December 2015, your choices will be:

  • If you know you want to be a donor then you can:
    • Register a decision to be a donor (opt-in) or
    • Choose to do nothing and have your consent deemed. By doing nothing you will be treated as having no objection to organ donation.
  • If you know you do not want to be a donor, then you can:
    • Register a decision not to be a donor (opt-out)
  • You will be able to register opt-out decisions from summer 2015.

More information

For more information visit Organ Donation Wales:

See the Welsh version of this page here.

Join the Organ Donor Register 0300 123 23 23