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James Reilly asks the public if organ donation should be 'opt-out'

The Department of Health is considering a new system where people are assumed to consent to donate their organs after death.

Image: Irish Kidney Assocation via Facebook

THE PUBLIC IS to be asked whether organ donation should be made ‘opt-out’ in future in a bid to deal with the falling number of donors.

The Department of Health and Minister James Reilly is asking individuals and organisations to submit their views on the possible change to Ireland’s donation system.

The current system is that when a potential organ donor is identified, their family is asked for their consent to allow organ donation to take place. People who carry donor cards are advised to make their wishes known to their family.

However under an ‘opt-out’ system, it is deemed that everyone has consented to donate their organs where possible after death, unless someone explicitly registered a wish not to become an organ donor.

“Given the scarcity of organs available in Ireland for transplantation, it is important that as a society we do all we can to increase the number of organs available for transplantation,” said Minister James Reilly. “A critical part of this is to build on the current positive attitude towards organ donation.”

Pre-empting issues about consent, Reilly said that in practice, donation would not proceed if the next of kin of the deceased person objected.

Individuals and groups are asked to submit their views on the opt-out system by Friday 23 September. A consultation document and details on how to submit responses can be seen here on the Department of Health website.

Read: Organ donation fell 17 per cent last year – IKA >

Column: I gave a kidney to my husband to save his life >

Read: Facebook campaigns have the power to ‘dramatically boost’ organ donation >

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