Consent for the Donation of Organs after Death for Transplantation

Mary Harney, T.D., Minister for Health and Children, today (February 25th) announced that she was extending the closing date for receipt of submissions in respect of the public consultation on systems of consent for the donation of organs after death for transplantation.

The Minister said that “following a high level of interest, I have decided to extend the closing date for receipt of submissions.  The revised closing date for receipt of submissions is now March 14th, 2009.”

The Minister said that she was very pleased with the response to date and that she strongly encourages all members of the public and any interest groups to submit their views on this issue.  
The Government has approved the preparation of the General Scheme and Heads of a Human Tissue Bill to regulate the removal, retention, storage, use and disposal of human tissue from deceased persons and related matters, including the issue of consent for donation of organs after death for transplantation.

As part of this process, the Department has been asked to examine the case for the ‘opt-in’, ‘opt-out’ and ‘mandated choice’ systems of consent for organ donation.

The Department now wishes to invite interested parties to submit their views on this issue. A broad outline of the main options is given below. Further information on possible variations in the operation of each of these options is available here or can be requested by telephone (01 6354732 / 6354452) or by email (

Option A Opt-out ……………….sometimes called presumed consent

The person is presumed to have consented to donate his or her organs after death unless he or she has specified otherwise.

Option B Opt-in…………………..sometimes called explicit consent

The person can decide in advance to consent to donate his or her organs, or to nominate someone to make the decision on his/her behalf after death. Where the deceased has not made a decision his or her family may do so.

Option C Mandated choice and required request

People would be required by law to specify whether or not they wish to donate their organs after death. This could be done at specified times such as when applying for a State service or benefit. The provision of the service or benefit would not be dependent on the choice made. If a person is a potential organ donor, “required request” means that the person’s wishes, or their family’s, must be ascertained before death, for example in a hospital A & E Department or Intensive Care Unit.

You are invited to give your views on these options, to rank them in order of preference, and to indicate whether you strongly support, support, oppose, strongly oppose or have no opinion on each option. We would also like your views on whether the options raise any ethical, moral or practical issues, your views on how your preferred option should operate in practice and any suggestions you might have on ways to increase the number of organs donated for transplantation.

Written responses by individuals, groups or organisations are welcome and should be sent by e-mail to: or posted to: Tissue Legislation Consultation, Department of Health & Children, R. 324, Hawkins House, Hawkins Street, Dublin 2.

Latest date for receipt of responses is 14th of March 2009.

All submissions received will be subject to the Freedom of Information Acts 1997 and 2003.