A law that will require people to opt-out of organ donation rather than opt-in will come into effect in England in 2020.
There are a few extremely important topics in life that we don't discuss often enough due to them being awkward or uncomfortable to talk about. Organ donation is one of those things. No one wants to talk about death, especially the death of themselves and those closest to them. Sadly when it comes to organ donation, people often don't talk about it until it's too late.
In most countries, people have to opt-in for organ donation. To give permission for their organs to be taken and used to save the lives of others in the event of their death. However, a lot fewer people opt-in than you would hope. Despite the process being a quick and simple one, many people never end up getting around to it or in many cases, don't even realize that they can or need to.
That will soon change in England. Plans to make organ donation in England opt-out rather than opt-in have been being discussed for a while and as reported by BBC, those rules have now cleared the final hurdle in Parliament. In 2020, the switch will be made and rather than opting in if you do want to donate your organs, you'll need to opt-out if you don't.
Perhaps most importantly, the family of the donor will still be able to stop organ donation if they believe that's what the patient would have wanted. That means having that conversation with your loved ones will soon become more important than ever. England will be the second country in the UK to instigate this change as opt-out laws have been in place in Wales since 2015.
The numbers don't lie either. In 2018, the organ donor consent rate in Wales was 75%. Not only is that the highest of all four countries in the UK, but it's up from 58% in 2015. Government ministers who have helped push these changes through argue that introducing an opt-out set of rules regarding organ donation in England could save as many as 700 lives a year.