The number of organ donations has increased sharply in recent years but still lags a long way behind the number of people waiting for a transplant. The BMA says new types of donors may need to be considered, like brain dead patients kept alive on ventilators. And it calls for an opt-out donation system, where people are presumed to have agreed to donate their organs.
The Welsh Government is planning to publish a draft Bill introducing an opt out system by the summer of 2012.
The BMA itself backs what Dr Nathanson describes as a “soft” opt-in, which presumes donation had been agreed but would allow bereaved families to say no. But the report says other options could include “mandated choice”, where all adults are forced to decide whether they want to become an organ donor; “reciprocity”, where those who donate organs, or sign up to donate after their death, receive priority should they themselves require a transplant; or some form of incentive or compensation for donors, for example paying for organs or covering funeral expenses.
Areas to think about:
- What form of organ donation system would you devise? Why? What are the ethical ramifications of the various options proposed in the report?