Every Adult In England Will Now Automatically Be An Organ Donor

AvatarThe Hook in News, World
Published 21.05.20

My flatmate Joe is super competitive and will try to best you in absolutely everything.

Usually I’ll just let him have it but recently he came home and told me he’d given blood (which to be fair is a very noble thing to do). After a while, though, I got sick of his constant virtue signalling and told him I was an organ donor, thrusting my donor card into his face.

It was a brilliant moment of one-upmanship that I’ll cherish forever. I’d completely top-trumped him and there was nothing he could say or do. I’m not saying this was my sole reason in deciding to become an organ donor but it certainly helped.

But now, thankfully, everyone in the UK – even Joe – will be automatically enrolled as organ donors having a new law was passed yesterday.

Under the new legislation, every single adult in England will be presumed to consent to donate their organs in the event of their death unless they expressly say that they don’t want to be one and ‘opt-out’.

The law – ‘Max and Keira’s’ – was named after Max Johnson and Keira Bell. Max, a ten year old boy, was donated his heart by nine year old Keira, after she died in a car crash. After he survived the transplant, Johnson’s parents started to campaign for a change in the law.

“Although we’d never discussed organ donation, I knew it was what Keira would have wanted. It was in her nature,” her father said at the time.

It’s hoped that this move will save hundreds of lives and reduce the waiting time for people who desperately need organ donations to stay alive.

Relatives will still be able to block donation, though, so it’s definitely a discussion worth having with your family, while it’s worth noting that Wales introduced presumed consent in 2015, while Scotland will follow suit next March

Keira’s mother, Loanna Ball, said that education was key, telling the BBC that “children would happily talk about it with their friends and family” if there was better education around the issue at schools and at home.

“It would just be an everyday conversation,” she said.

It is hoped the law will lead to an additional 700 transplants each year by 2023 and spark vital conversations around organ donation within families.

Faizan Awan, one of thousands of people across the UK awaiting a transplant, said: ‘For many people like me, who are waiting for an organ, the law change is a sign of hope and a transplant would dramatically change my life in a number of ways.

‘With the new law coming into effect, it is now more important than ever to talk about organ donation and get the conversation going amongst our family and friends.’

I’ve got to say, I was extremely sceptical about being an organ donor when my parents proposed the idea to me a few years ago. The thought of being carved up and your organs being harvested isn’t exactly nice, but if it means saving the life of someone else then it has to be done.

And now that everyone will automatically become one, it hopefully means that thousands of people that normally would have lost their lives, survive.

Plus, I don’t really need kidneys where I’m going – someone else might as well put them to good use.