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02nd May 2019

Proposed legislation making organ donation ‘opt out’ system to be published today

Jade Hayden

Proposed legislation that would make organ donation an “opt out” system in Ireland will be published later today.

The Human Tissue Bill, to be announced by Minister for Health Simon Harris this afternoon, will include provisions regarding organ donation, organ removal, and organ and tissue use from living and deceased persons.

The legislation will notably include an opt out system that will presume consent for organ donation after death unless stated otherwise.

This includes the heart, kidneys, liver, and lungs where a person passed away in circumstances that make donation possible.

Speaking ahead of the publication, Minister Harris said on Twitter:

“Major piece of legislative reform for our organ donation system in Ireland.

“General Scheme to be published today. Sought by so many for so long. Delighted we are progressing. Has been a priority for me.”

Under the current law, the decision to donate organs after death resides with the next-of-kin, irrespective of whether the deceased person carries a donor card.

In circumstances where a person has not opted out, their next-of-kin will be consulted prior to any organ removal after death. If the next-of-kin does not give consent, no organs will be removed.

If a person signs the opt out register, their next-of-kin will not be consulted about organ donation.

The HSE hopes that the proposed legislation will raise organ donation rates in Ireland.