Organ Donation in Wales at Peak Thanks to New Program
Organ donation is on the rise in the United Kingdom, rising in Wales at an especially-fast rate. This is due to the new Welsh policy called “deemed consent,” in which anyone residing in the country is assumed to be eligible for organ donation unless they physically opt out of doing so. 
On Organ Donation Wales’ new website, users are notified that they may opt out for organ donation or do nothing. If they do nothing, they are giving what is called “deemed consent,” meaning it is assumed that they wish to donate their organs. Those who have an objection to it can decide to opt out, where they will be added to a list of those whose organs will not be used.
In June 2016, the Welsh government stated that the new program had already made an incredibly positive impact within the country. During that month, of the 60 organs transplanted, 32 came from those with “deemed consent.”
This new rule helps curb waiting times for organs and increases survival rates. Many people in the United Kingdom, and across the world, die while waiting for an organ transplant. With deemed consent, it could cut the waiting time for many in half, thus saving lives.
“The new system will make it easier for people in Wales to become organ donors. If you haven’t registered a decision to opt-in or opt-out of organ donation, you will be treated as having no objection to being an organ donor. This is called deemed consent…
…Your choices are:
If you know you want to be a donor then you can:
- register a decision to be a donor (opt-in) or
- choose to do nothing and have your consent deemed. By doing nothing you will be treated as having no objection to organ donation.
If you know you don’t want to be a donor, then you can:
- register a decision not to be a donor (opt-out).
You can change your organ donation decision at any time.”
The National Health Service Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) program stated that despite deemed consent, the increase in those opting in for donation was staggering during the 2015/2016 financial year. The rate of authorization increased from 49% to 59%. Across the UK, however, the number only increased from 58% to 62%, but still shows a positive impact on organ donation as a whole. 
According to the NHSBT, the United Kingdom still has one of the lowest rates of authorized consent throughout Europe. They estimate that in order to cover the demand for transplants, 80% of people living in the UK would need to sign up for authorized consent. The NHSBT also states that more often, families are willing to allow for organ donation if they know ahead of time that the patient has asked for it. In some cases, the level of consent may be murky, so it is important that people let their families in on their intent to donate.
However, those at NHSBT find that the new program in Wales signals a promising change in the availability in organs and could signal the beginning of new programs with organ shortages around the world.
 The Guardian
Featured image source: ITV
Anna Scanlon is an author of YA and historical fiction and a PhD student at the University of Leicester where she is finishing her degree in modern history.