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Scientific/Medical Question 17
Outline the different organ donation policies
The two principal organ donation policies worldwide are opt-in (where the default is that one’s organs will not be donated, and one must elect to donate them) and opt-out (where the default is that one’s organs will be donated, and one must choose not to donate them). Opt-out policies are also often referred to by the term presumed consent; opt-in by the term expressed consent.
In general, research indicates that opt-out legislation leads to higher organ donation rates, but certain countries that have swapped to this policy from opt-in haven’t seen benefits. Additionally, some countries that have remained opt-in have seen significant increases in donation rates through infrastructure changes to their organ procurement systems. Countries that are opt-in include the US and Brazil. Opt-out countries include the UK, Spain, Austria and Belgium. In the UK, opt-out is new; the changes in legislation were only passed in 2019. In Spain and the UK, families of the deceased potential organ donor are given the chance to refuse. However, in Austria and Singapore there is no such opportunity - if someone does not choose to opt out while alive, their relatives have no say in the matter after their death.