Response to media coverage about ethical arguments around euthanasia and organ donation

1 April 2016

A journal article published in the Journal of Medical Ethics written by researchers in Belgium and the Netherlands discusses the ethical arguments around organ donation following euthanasia.   

 NHS Blood and Transplant would like to stress that euthanasia is illegal in the UK. Therefore any ethical discussions about organ donation following euthanasia would have no application in organ donation practices here in the UK.

 Organ donation in the UK only ever takes place when consent or authorisation has been given for organ donation to go ahead either by the donor during their lifetime or by someone close to them after their death, usually a close family member, or if consent is deemed in Wales if a decision was not stated before death. 

 Death has to be confirmed by senior doctors who have no involvement in the transplant process before organ donation can proceed.  Once death is confirmed the organ retrieval process can begin.