Organ donation law in Northern Ireland

The current legislation for Northern Ireland is to opt in to organ and tissue donation; you can do this by joining the NHS Organ Donor Register and sharing your decision with your family. You can also record a decision not to be a donor.

You can also nominate up to two representatives to make the decision for you. These could be family members, friends, or other people you trust, such as your faith leader.

Following consideration of the issue, in 2020 the health minister said he intends to hold a consultation moving towards introducing a soft opt-out system for organ donation in Northern Ireland.

The Department of Health in Northern Ireland subsequently announced the launch of a consultation on 11 December 2020 to seek public views on proposed changes for an opt out system of consent for organ donation. The consultation is anticipated to run for 10 weeks up to 19 February 2021.

Find out more about the proposed changes or to submit a response to the consultation

An image of Belfast City Hall bathed in pink light in support of Organ Donation Week 2017
Belfast City Hall illuminated in pink in support of Organ Donation Week

In addition, the Northern Ireland Assembly introduced a new statutory requirement for the Department of Health to promote organ donation as a means of increasing the number of organs available for transplantation.

Every five years the department will be required to provide the Northern Ireland Assembly with advice about whether efforts to promote organ donation have been effective, and any recommendations it considers appropriate for amending the law to further promote transplantation.

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