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Organ donation law in England

What does the change to an opt out organ donation system mean for people in England?

How is organ donation law changing?

From spring 2020, all adults in England will be considered to have consented to be an organ donor when they die unless they had recorded a decision not to donate or are in one of the excluded groups. This is commonly referred to as an ‘opt out’ system. You may also hear it referred to as 'Max and Keira's Law'.

More about the opt out system

If there is no recorded decision for you on the NHS Organ Donor Register, it will be assumed that you want to be an organ donor when you die.

Organ donation is still a gift, and adults covered by the change will still have a choice about whether they want to be an organ donor and their families will still be approached to discuss the option of organ donation.

If you would like to speak to somebody about these changes, please call our dedicated line: 0300 303 2094

Why is the law changing?

Every day, three people die in need of an organ, because not enough organs are available for transplant.

The law is being changed to help save and improve more lives.

When is the law changing?

The law has now been passed by Parliament and has received Royal Assent, but will not come into effect until spring 2020.

The law around organ donation will remain ‘opt in’ until this time.

What do I have to do?


Whatever you decide, make sure you tell your family, so they can honour your choice.

Tell your family

It is essential to tell your family whether or not you want to be an organ donor.

You can record a decision on the NHS Organ Donor Register to opt in, or opt out, but your family will be asked to honour your decision, when the time comes.

Did you know?

If there is no recorded decision for you, your family will be asked if they have any information that shows whether or not you wanted to donate.

Which groups are excluded from this change?

  • 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
  • People who have lived in England for less than 12 months or who are not living here voluntarily


What is the NHS Organ Donor Register?

The NHS Organ Donor Register is a database that holds the details of all those who have registered a decision about organ donation, whether they have decided to donate or not. Registering on the NHS Organ Donor Register and telling your family are the best ways to ensure your decision is honoured.

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