Press Release

Statement by Department of Health and Children on Organ Donation

The Programme for Government contains a commitment to change the organ donation to an opt-out system for organ transplantation rather than an opt-in system. However, it is important to note that there is no question of organs being taken without the consent of the family. Full consultation will take place with the next-of-kin of all those whose organs might be harvested and it is hoped that by introducing an opt-out system, it will be easier for all those involved, including doctors and families, to begin what is a very difficult conversation.

As part of the preparation of a Human Tissue Bill, the Department of Health examined the case for ‘opt-in’, ‘opt-out’ and ‘mandated choice’ systems of consent for organ donation. The Department held a public consultation on these three possible systems of consent for organ donation in 2009. Following this consultation, the Department is preparing legislative proposals on the donation and use of human organs for transplantation. It is proposed that these be included in a Human Tissue Bill which will also meet key recommendation of the Madden Report on Post Mortem Practice and Procedures. The legislation deals with complex issues and the Department is working to finalise the proposals for the Minister’s approval as soon as possible. Further consultation with interested groups will take place as the legislative proposals are developed.

Read Minister Reilly’s speech at the launch of Organ Donor Awareness Week 2011