Every adult in England is now automatically an organ donor by law

21 May 2020, 10:28 | Updated: 21 May 2020, 11:15

Every adult in England is automatically an organ donor
Every adult in England is automatically an organ donor. Picture: Getty Images

A new law that comes into effect this week means every adult is now an organ donor unless they opt out.

A new law has come in this week which sees every adult in England automatically made organ donors.

‘Max and Keira's Law' has now introduced an 'opt-out' system in the UK, which means consent is presumed for all adults aged 18 and over, unless they state otherwise or are in an excluded group.

Previously, people would have had to ‘opt in’ to be able to donate organs.

The monumental change was brought about after campaigning by young boy Max Johnson, who received a new heart from nine-year-old Keira Ball after she sadly died in a car crash.

Max Johnson campaigned to change the 'opt in' system
Max Johnson campaigned to change the 'opt in' system. Picture: PA Images

Keira helped save the lives of four people, including Max who was also aged nine at the time, after her father allowed doctors to use her organs for transplants following the crash in 2017.

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Kiera’s Mum Loanna, 35, of Barnstaple, North Devon, said: "If your child needed an organ to survive, you would do whatever you could to try and get an organ. So you have to look on the flip side, if you're going to receive an organ you have to be prepared to give one."

Dad Joe, 37, said: "We never thought about organ donation, at the time we thought Keira would pull through."

Joe and Loanna, who are parents to three other children, hope the government will continue to educate people on organ donation, with Joe adding: "We'd like to see education for young children in schools. We visit schools to do talks about organ donation, afterwards a lot of children have the discussion with their parents -education is the key to get rid of all the horror stories."

It’s hoped the law will give way for an additional 700 transplants each year by 2023.

Anthony Clarkson, director of organ and tissue donation and transplantation at NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT), said: “We hope this law change will prompt all of us to consider whether or not we would want to donate our organs and encourage us all to register and share our decision with our family and friends.”

A similar law was introduced in Wales in 2015, while Scotland is due to follow suit by March next year.

Northern Ireland continues to have an opt-in system. You can find out more here.

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