The Welsh government passed the Human Transplantation Act of 2013 this July, and as of 2015 the government will presume that every citizen has consented to donate their organs upon their deaths, unless they opted out of the program. The current system in the UK is described as a “voluntary,” opt-in program. However, the shortage of human organs motivated the Welsh government to institute the new legislation. The government hopes the Act will increase transplant rates by as much as 25%, and drive down the statistics on “preventable” deaths. Over the next two years, the government will launch a public information campaign to inform citizens of their rights under the opt-out program.
The question of whether to adopt a “presumed consent” approach remains controversial all over the world, even though Spain, Belgium, Austria and Sweden all have such programs. Chile adopted an opt-out program in 2010, but the Chilean government released data indicating that the number of “registered non-donors…has more than doubled since the law was enacted.” However, the opt-out program in Wales differs from the program instituted in Chile; Chilean citizens did not benefit from a public-education program on presumed consent. Also, Welsh citizens will have a “clear right of objection.” Chile intends to alleviate its problem by implementing new legislation: the Chilean government will register all citizens for organ donation when they reach the age of 18. In order for a citizen to de-register he or she must sign a declaration form after making an appointment with a notary.
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