Dutch OK law: Everyone is organ donor unless they opt out

Dutch OK law: Everyone is organ donor unless they opt out

The upper house of the Dutch parliament on Tuesday voted narrowly in favour of introducing a "yes unless" system of organ donation in the Netherlands.

The Dutch senate [official website, in Dutch] on Tuesday narrowly approved legislation [text, PDF, in Dutch] revising organ donor registration to make automatic registration for organ donor status the default.

Currently, more than 40 per cent of citizens are registered on the country's donor list - including those who explicitly said they did not want their organs donated after their deaths, the NOS public newscaster said.

All adults not now enrolled as a donor in the Netherlands would receive two letters from the government informing them of their impending status change and how to decline enrollment if they so choose.

Netherlands also isn't the only European country to adopt such a law, similar donation laws already exist in Spain, Belgium and France.

But Pia Dijkstra, the D66 MP behind the bill, made some changes to the original legislation which will now include that the deceased's relatives always have the last say, unless the dead person specifically stated they did not want to be a donor. If they don't respond to the first letter, a second one will be sent and if it goes unanswered they will automatically be added to the donor list.

The foundation's director, Tom Oostrom, said the new law means "hundreds of patients will get back their lives and freedom".

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