Organ donation law change due to come into effect in England on 20th May

6 May 2020

Max and Keira’s Law – the Organ Donation (Deemed Consent) Act, is expected to come into effect on 20 May 2020, subject to the final stage of secondary legislation passing through Parliament.

Under the new law, all adults in England will be considered as having agreed to donate their own organs when they die unless they record a decision not to donate (known as ‘opting out’) or are in one of the excluded groups.

Those excluded will be people under 18, those who lack the mental capacity to understand the new arrangements and take the necessary action; people who have lived in England for less than 12 months or who are not living here voluntarily and those who have nominated someone else to make the decision on their behalf.

Very few people die in circumstances where organ donation is possible. At present as the UK is dealing with the impact of COVID-19 there are fewer donations and transplants are taking place. Organ donation will not go ahead if a potential donor tests positive for COVID-19.  We continue to work closely with transplant centres who are considering re-opening their programmes in a phased return to normal as part of the wider recovery of NHS services.

Anthony Clarkson, Director of Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation, said “It is important that people know that even after the law changes, they will still have a choice whether or not to donate. Families will still be consulted and people’s faith, beliefs and culture will continue to be respected.  

“We hope this law change will prompt all of us to consider whether or not we would want to donate our organs. I would encourage everyone to register and share your decision with your family and friends.  

“Whatever you decide please know that there is no deadline to making your donation decision, you can register your choice at any time.”