Organ Donation - Opt in or opt out?

Johnny - posted on 08/17/2010 ( 38 moms have responded )

8,686

26

322

Here in Canada, we have an abysmal organ donation rate. 90% of our citizens state that they support organ donation, and yet less than 50% (far lower in certain provinces) are registered organ donors. Doctors and researchers say that virtually no on would die waiting for an organ if the 90% rate who supports it were all organ donors.

One suggestion being made is to move to a model often used in Europe that requires citizens to explicitly choose NOT to become an organ donor, rather than the current system that requires people to choose to sign up. In our jurisdiction, it used to be a question that was asked every time you got your driver's license, but due to legal issues, they have now changed it to a separate online/mail-in registration form that must be completed.

So, what do you think about organ donation? Do you think individuals should have to explicitly express their desire to become a donor? Or should it be assumed unless they clearly state that they do not wish to have their organs harvested? Would you want to be an organ donor? Are you registered to be one? Was it an easy process or did you need to fill out a form to be mailed in?

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

Jessica - posted on 08/21/2010

260

6

13

I'm sorry. Loureen, but all I am seeing in your posts is a straw man fallacy.

OPT-OUT doesn't affect your right to choose. Just changes the way you choose.

The entire procedure of organ donation is NOT going to change, all that would change is how you get onto or leave the register.

"if people really shouldnt care about their bodies then why not just dump all bodies in a big pit of lime ?"

You have made 2 leaps here. First, your assuming that I don't care (right now) what happens to my body after I die. I do. Which is why I am donating it to medical science. Secondly, your assuming that with not being able to care about what happens to your body after you die means that you would be happy for anything to happen to your body. My point was, that you are not ABLE to care AFTER you die because you no longer exist. There is a VAST difference between organ donation and being thrown into a pit of lime. Organ donation helps people live.

You are also creating a False Dichotomy. There are more than two options in this situation. You are relying on two extremes to force a decision from the people reading this when it is not a black and white subject.

"I just dont see why we have to go the route of opting out when making it legally binding at the time of license registration would be so much more easier not to mention ethical"

The first thing with this is, when I applied for my license there was no option for me to tick (though I understand that it has changed recently) to donate my organs. Secondly, in the UK, you can apply for your provisional at 16 and for your full at 17. You are not legally an adult until the age of 18 and so it would not be legally binding. Thirdly, what about those who don't drive? My son's father doesn't, my son's two auntie's and two uncle's don't. None of them have a license and I doubt if more than two of them will apply for one in their entire lives.

Jessica - posted on 08/20/2010

260

6

13

Hi Loureen,

"its a complete violation of my rights to bodily integrity."

While I completely understand what you mean when you say this, your dead. Your not going to care about bodily integrity, your not going to know about what is happening with your body. You won't care about bodily integrity because you will no longer exist. I find this to be a rather selfish argument for the OPT-IN when people all around the world are dying for lack of organ donation.

The point of the OPT-OUT is to get more people to donate when they die. 90% of Brits agree with organ donation and would happily give their own but only 27% are registered donors. The OPT-OUT is about boosting this register and only inconveniencing the (IMO) selfish.

ME - posted on 08/18/2010

2,978

18

193

I'm in!!! I think it's very important...it's easy in my state, you just agree to it when you renew your drivers license...I don't think people should have to give their consent, but I understand why we have it that way...

Johnny - posted on 08/18/2010

8,686

26

322

I think that is common practice Katherine. Personally, I'd be happy to be kept on life support to sustain my organs so that others may live. But perhaps this concept may make some people uncomfortable.

This conversation has been closed to further comments

38 Comments

View replies by

[deleted account]

I'm an organ donor, I signed on as soon as I was 18 and made it very clear to my family that whatever could be donated WILL be donated no exceptions, I've even put it into my will thats what i want. I have also decided that until my son is old enough to make his own mind up about it I would donate his organs too. I think people shouldn't have to sign up I definitely think it should be those who dont want to should sign a register

Mandy - posted on 08/27/2010

233

16

8

I think you should have to opt out of donating, in the UK think we must be on par with Canada, high number of the population support organ donation, low number have actually registered (shamefully I'm 1 of them, just haven't got round to it). You don't need your body when you're dead, so if it can help someone else I think that's great. In fact I'm going to look into registering. Though the government over here where talking about the opt out system.

Sharon - posted on 08/27/2010

11,585

12

1315

I know that most doctors are totally ethical etc. Its just MY fear that I'll run into the one asshole who figures my life doesn't matter as much as his nephew or something.

[deleted account]

Why would you not donate your organs? You can't use them when you're dead! Hmmmm......let my organs be used to save lives when I die and don't need them any more, or let them rot in the ground instead because of some stupid insecurity or fear that I won't even be aware of when I'm dead anyway? That shouldn't be a tough decision for anyone! If you're not an organ donor, you are either procrastinating or you're stingy, unsympathetic, and wasteful. JMO

Karen - posted on 08/25/2010

48

19

2

I have registered as a donor, so has my young daughter, it seems a waste and pointless that people are dying unneccarily, what good are your organs when you are gone. your soul lives on forever,,,,,,,,i think it should be made compulsary. How many people think about it think its a good idea, and yet when it comes to the decision, someone else makes it for you,,,,, do it while your alive,,,,, fill out the form or register online,,,,,,, what have you got to loose. How would you feel if it was your loved one on the waiting list ?

Charlie - posted on 08/20/2010

11,203

111

409

I understand that Jessica which is why i am down to donate all but it is my body and my choice to donate it , even in death i still own my body and would expect for people to respect my wishes to donate , if people really shouldnt care about their bodies then why not just dump all bodies in a big pit of lime ?
Because as people we still have wishes after death , we still have one last need , be them personal or spiritual and that includes our decisions to be donors , and it all comes down to that it SHOULD be our decision .

Why not just make it a legally binding contract when you opt in so no one can contest your wishes , that way you would get many , MANY more organ donations ( 90 % of Australia are donors ) and no one would have ownership of our bodies .

I just dont see why we have to go the route of opting out when making it legally binding at the time of license registration would be so much more easier not to mention ethical .

[deleted account]

I am 100% in support of getting as many people to donate organs as possible.
In 1992, my mom had her first kidney transplant, and sadly her body rejected it. In 2000 she got her 2nd kindey transplant, and just threw a huge 10 year kidney anniversary party. In 2004 my older brother received a kidney transplant. My younger sis has been on diaylsis for 2 years now and is now on multiple approved organ donation lists. When I went for my kindey scans and diagnostics this January, I was told that my kindeys are healthy. Yet, my sister won't let me donate one to her :-(

So if I can't save my sister, I want to be able to save someone else one day. The same will go for my husband and son should anything tragic happen to them.

Charlene - posted on 08/19/2010

631

29

25

I'm a donor. I have been since I received my learner's permit at 15.
I plan on letting them harvest all viable organs and whatever is left, I am strongly thinking about donating it for medical study.

Even though I wish more people would opt in, I still think it should stay as an opt-in program, not an opt-out. Although, I do believe that it should be asked when getting a licence, passport, Voluntary ID, etc.. whether or not someone wants to be a donor.

Jane - posted on 08/19/2010

1,041

5

69

I've been an organ donor for as long as I was legally allowed to be one...so over 30 years now. I don't think it should be you have to decline being a donor....because if someone forgets to and they die, and then the family doesn't WANT them to be a donor, it can cause a big legal mess.

I have no idea what the statistics are here in the US but I'm not sure I've met a person who WASN'T a donor so I'm guessing (and hoping) that the percentage rate here is high!

Charlie - posted on 08/18/2010

11,203

111

409

Opt in .

Opt out implies my body is already owned by another person , company or government .

I AM a doner , i have all my donatable organs down to be taken when i die from organs to skin and eyes EVERYTHING i have also made sure all of my family respect my wishes and they have all agreed .

I think once a person has given consent to donate it should be the final decision and no one should be able to change that .

"BRUCE LINDSAY: Our surveys indicate that up to 90 per cent of Australians currently support the notion of organ donation. "

Most of these are not being fulfilled due to family intervention not because of a lack of desire to donate .

We are still asked when we apply for our license .

The thought of opt out goes against all my beliefs that my body belongs no person or persons , it is our own and no one has the right to it without my consent first , its a complete violation of my rights to bodily integrity .

Julie - posted on 08/18/2010

619

35

72

Organ donation is very important. More organs would be available if the "default" was donor YES and one would have to OPT no. I am an organ donor, it was as simple as checking a box on my driver's license form. Now, I just need to make sure no one in my family changes that after I'm dead (because, sadly, that can happen).

Jenny - posted on 08/18/2010

4,426

16

129

If you do it through a Driver's License you lose out on those good healthy organs from the walkers and cyclists though.

I'm for an opt out system. I'm sure I'm an organ donor but not 100% sure where I filled it out. I better check into that. At the very least you should be able to do it online.

[deleted account]

My grandpa was an organ donor and because of the way they have to pronounce you dead he was alive for 3 dys before he was harvested... and then because of that he was alive for a matter of hours after he was considered dead before he was actually dead... he had to stop breathing on his own. They could not pull the plug so to speak and then let them harvest...it was a really difficult thing to endure, but considering the ppl he helped it was worth the trouble. I need to renew my license, and was not a registered donor, but will change it today when I go get it done. After learning some statistics about the number of lives that die each year and could be saved if it were an opt out system I have since changed my mind! I also watched this movie on TV that I woke up during...where this kid from the US went to visit Europe and died there in a drive by shooting on the freeway and his parents donated his parts and saved some children's lives...I would be soo happy if my child were to give the gift of life with his death, therefore would do so for them, my spouse, & myself! I do not mind if they take my eyes so someone could see...skin so a burn victim can feel some relief (they go through some crazy amounts of pain and tx!!!). I was watching a show where they did a facial transplant and having a new outlook on being a donor, I don't think I would mind that either! If my body can be put to use after I am done with it, by all means! However it can help! Be it science, transplants, experiments, teaching...etc! I plan on being cremated and would just like enough that it can be used in cremation jewelery for my children and anyone else who would like it. ♥

Katherine - posted on 08/18/2010

65,420

232

5195

I really can't imagine what her family had to go through. It's a very personal choice and it should be made BEFORE you die if possible. They don't have that option on your license. Even though she was a donor, her family could easily have just taken her off of the life support.

Katherine - posted on 08/18/2010

65,420

232

5195

I had a friend who was in a freak accident that was pronounced brain dead. She was an organ donor and saved five lives. For that reason I filled out my donor info on the back of my license, no point in wasting my organs if they can save a life or two. I won't, however, donate my body for study.
It was my understanding, Carol that they did keep my friend on life support because someone needed her heart and for transplant reasons it needed to be(for lack of a better word) as fresh as possible.

Jessica - posted on 08/18/2010

260

6

13

Sharon,

Your right that not all doctors are decent, but VERY few are so indecent as to take a patients life (even to save another's, though I have never heard of a single case of this). I also don't see the relevance of priests in this conversation.

Like carol said. There are strict policies and procedures in place to prevent accidents and there is really little room for government and hospital mistakes. They cannot take organs without family consent, regardless of whether you are on the organ donation list or not (at least in the UK).

Johnny - posted on 08/17/2010

8,686

26

322

In most industrialized countries, including Canada & the United States, doctors that perform transplants and work with patients requiring them are not involved in end of life decisions. Your emergency room doc who is declaring you brain dead as a result of a drowning virtually never knows or is involved with the patients waiting for a heart transplant. This is purposefully organized in this way to prevent personal conflicts of interest. I have never heard of a case where a doctor has been accused of declaring someone dead "early" so that organs could be harvested. I'd be very interested in some evidence on that. Hospitals and doctors must follow strict protocols regarding pronouncement of death that are designed to avoid any errors.

Sharon - posted on 08/17/2010

11,585

12

1315

Not all doctors are decent. they aren't gods and they aren't even priests.

[deleted account]

Like Cathy and a few others mentioned, I do think it's hogwash that your next of kin can override your wishes.

Caitlin - posted on 08/17/2010

1,915

5

172

I'm an organ donor, my husband knows about this, and he had hisprevious wifes organs donated (car accident). He's not to keen on the conversation of course, because he doesn't like to think about me dying, but he definately knows my wishes and I know he would respect them.

I think it should be opt out. If anything happened to me, there is a sticker on my drivers license that gives them consent, and if anything happened to my kids, I'd donate theirs as well (as hard as it would be). It's not hard to fill otu a form to opt out, and then those religious zealots could keep their organs so they rot away in their coffin, I dont' really care, but what an amazing gift to give. I'm being cremated anyway, so I dont' care what they take once i'm dead, though I plan on leaving this world well used, so most wont be useful.

Jessica - posted on 08/17/2010

260

6

13

No decent doctor would pull the plug prematurely and without family consent. Not only would they be taken off the medical register but they would face jail time too.

Jessica - posted on 08/17/2010

260

6

13

Definatley opt out. A lot of people support organ donation but never actually get around to putting their name on the list. With the opt out option, more lives are saved.

[deleted account]

I agree with the opt out because people just don't get round to registering and it is about saving lives. I am registered as an organ donor which I signed up to with my drivers license BUT there are a couple of organs which I would not want taking (the corneas and my skin - these do not save lives) my family are aware of my choices and my decisions regarding this so they can ensure the doctors know.

Another reason I feel the opt out option is better is because people who are really against organ donation will go to the lengths needed (i.e. go to the webpage, send off the forms etc) to become unregistered whereas people who think its a good idea are less likely to sign up to it.

Sharon - posted on 08/17/2010

11,585

12

1315

Opt in. Next thing you know they'll be conscripting your body to use as cord wood to heat the white house or some shit.

I am all for organ donation - it is NOT on my drivers license, I have this fear that some doctor will decide the life of his neighbors child is worth more than mine and pull the plug on me to be able to take my organs. I've told my family & friends I want to be an organ donor IF and WHEN they decide I am dead.

Stifler's - posted on 08/17/2010

15,141

154

604

Oh when I got my license it came in the mail to fill out with a postage paid envelope I think. It should just be mandatory.

Stifler's - posted on 08/17/2010

15,141

154

604

I'm a registered donor. I filled out the form and sent it, that's not hard. I don't need my organs when I'm dead. I just hope they don't go to someone who drank until their liver died.

LaCi - posted on 08/17/2010

3,361

3

171

I don't think it would make a difference here. When getting a license you have to say yes or no to organ donation.



In my opinion, there shouldn't even be an opt out unless it's due to some religious reason, in such a case you should have to fill out paperwork stating your reasons and have it approved. Everyone else should be dissected and used for spare parts.

Nikki - posted on 08/17/2010

5,263

41

574

I like the idea of opting out, it's sad that so many people don't take the time to register.

I am an organ donor, you have to fill out a form in Australia through medicare, however your family can contest after you are gone and they get final say, therefore it is important that your family are aware of your wishes.

I have never really understood the reason behind anyone not wanting to be an organ donor, it is such an amazing gift to give, and it's not like your going to miss your bits when your gone!

Sarah - posted on 08/17/2010

5,465

31

344

I think it should be an opt out system.
I think more lives would be saved that way.
I also think that family members shouldn't be able to override your decision.
I'm an organ donor, but I only got round to registering last year I think. As I don't drive, it wasn't an option to tick it on a form. I did it over the internet.
Although all my family members would have known I would like to donate, if I had died before I'd gotten round to registering, then my organs could have gone to waste.

Louise - posted on 08/17/2010

5,429

69

2322

In England when applying for a driving licence you have to tick yes or no to organ donation and it is registered there and then. If you are on the register then the doctors do not have to ask for permission to harvest the organs, they only have to ask for permission to turn off breathing machines. There is still a huge waiting list for organs. In high school now there is also a scheme that health care professionals go into the 6th form and talk to the kids about bone marrow donation. Most children sign up there and then.

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms