Published On: Wed, Feb 21st, 2018

Dutch law makes every adult an organ donor unless they opt out

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According to the new law approved by the Dutch senators, every adult citizen of Netherlands becomes a potential organ donor unless they decide to opt out.

The new policy is meant to help fix the shortage in organ donations in the Netherlands.

  All you need to know about the law
  • Pia Dijkstra, a member of the House of Representatives, is the one who drafted this new law. According to her, under the new system, every individual over 18 years of age who is not registered as a donor will receive a letter asking if they want to donate their organs after their death or not. The system is similar to donation laws in Belgium and Spain
  • “They will be able to reply: yes, no, my next of kin will decide or a specific person will decide,” Dijkstra said in a statement, according to the Associated Press
  • The ones who will not respond to the first letter, or to a second letter six weeks later, will automatically be considered organ donors. Though, if they wish to change the status, they can amend it anytime
  • The new system narrowly passed a vote in the upper house of the Dutch parliament on Tuesday, February 13, 2018, in a 36-38 vote. The lower house had passed the legislation in 2016 by a slim 75-74 margin
  • The law is to be implemented in 2020 after the approval from King Willem-Alexander

There are about 1,100 people waiting for organ donation in the Netherlands, according to Jeantine Reiger, communications manager for the Dutch Transplant Foundation.

During a Donor Week event in October 2016, a month after that vote, 26,430 adults registered as non-donors, but only 5,414 people registered as donors, according to the Ministry of Public Health.

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