Organ donation law in England

On 20 May 2020, the law around organ donation in England was changed to allow more people to save more lives.

The opt out system

Now that the law has changed, it will be considered that you agree to become an organ donor when you die, if:

  • you are over 18;
  • you have not opted out;
  • you are not in an excluded group.

You still have a choice whether or not you want to become an organ donor, and can register or amend your decision at any time.

Who does it affect?

The opt out system applies to everyone in England, except for those who are part of what are called excluded groups. 

Excluded groups are:

  • Those under the age of 18
  • People who lack the mental capacity to understand the new arrangements and take the necessary action
  • Visitors to England, and those not living here voluntarily
  • People who have lived in England for less than 12 months before their death

Why was it introduced?

There has been tremendous progress in organ donation but there is still a shortage of donors.

Wales introduced an opt out system in 2015 and has seen an increase in the number of families supporting a loved one's decision to donate, resulting in more life-saving transplants for those in need.

We hope that the change to an opt out system in England will see more people agree to support organ donation and help save and improve more lives.  

See the timeline of events leading up to this change

What do you need to do?

  1. Use the information on this page to help you understand how the system works
  2. Register your organ donation decision
  3. Talk to your loved ones about what you've decided. Your family will be consulted if organ donation is a possibility, even in an opt out system

More information

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