Statement on media coverage about organ donation and women carrying babies diagnosed with non-survivable conditions

9 March 2016

There have been articles in the national media this week implying that the NHS will pressure women carrying babies diagnosed with non-survivable conditions to proceed with the pregnancy to donate the baby's organs. That is not the case.

A spokesman for NHS Blood and Transplant said: “NHS Blood and Transplant wants to reassure the public that we have no way of knowing about anyone who is pregnant with a baby that is unlikely to survive. The only way we would ever find out about such babies is if a pregnant woman expressed a wish to donate the baby’s organs and they were referred to us by their clinical team because they have asked for this. We will then do what we can to support the family to do what is best for them.

"Under no circumstances would NHS Blood or Transplant staff or anybody else within the NHS pressure women to continue with a pregnancy solely for the possibility of organ donation.

"Organ donation in the circumstances of pregnancies where a non-survivable condition is diagnosed would only be considered if the potential parents have raised it as something they want to explore.

"When supporting any families who want to explore donating their baby’s organs we always work hard to explain that it is very rare and not always possible to go ahead with organ donation and that the process can be complex, while recognising that for some parents who face the tragedy of losing a baby organ donation can be of comfort.”