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Organ donation

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The Human Tissue and Transplantation (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Law, 2020 will come into force on 1st January 2023.

The Law changes the legal consent mechanism for organ donation from an 'opt-in' system to an 'opt-out' system. This means that, from 1st January 2023, unless you have formally registered that you do not want to donate your organs, there will be a legal presumption in favour of organ donation. This is referred to as deemed consent. However, your family will always be consulted.

You can record your decision to donate, or not as the case may be, on the NHS organ donor register https://www.organdonation.nhs.uk/register-your-decision/ However, from the 1st January 2023 if a decision about organ donation is not recorded for you (and you are not in a group excluded from opt-out legislation) it will be considered from this date that you agree to be an organ donor.

Frequently asked questions

 

  • What legal changes does the Human Tissue and Transplantation (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Law, 2020 bring in?

    • The Human Tissue and Transplantation (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Law, 2020 comes into force on 1st January 2023.
    • The Law changes the legal consent mechanism for organ donation from an 'opt-in' system to an 'opt-out' system. This means that, from 1st January 2023, unless you have formally registered that you do not want to donate your organs, there will be a legal presumption in favour of organ donation. This is referred to as deemed consent. However, your family will always be consulted.
    • In some jurisdictions, the family members of individuals who have not registered their decision are not consulted and organ donation goes ahead. This is sometimes called a 'hard' opt-out system and is not coming into force in the Bailiwick of Guernsey.
  • Why should I donate my organs?

    • Very few people die in circumstances that allow organ donation to go ahead. For clinical and practical reasons, the person must be free of diseases, such as cancer, and be a patient in the Emergency Department or the Intensive Care Unit at the Princess Elizabeth Hospital whose death is expected. For these reasons, donors are often those individuals who have suffered a catastrophic brain injury.
    • Although most people do not die in this way, organ donation gives hope to everyone on the transplant waiting list that their life can be saved or improved. Your organs can be used to save or improve the lives of up to nine people.
  • Is it still my choice to donate my organs?

    • Yes. Organ donation can only go ahead with your consent and/or the support of your family. You can find out more about how consent is established on the NHS Blood and Transplant website here.
  • Do I have to register my decision before the Law comes into force on 1st January 2023?

    • You can register your decision at any time. However, from the 1st January 2023 if a decision about organ donation is not recorded for you (and you are not in a group excluded from opt-out legislation) it will be considered from this date that you agree to be an organ donor. This is known as deemed consent. Organ donation will still be discussed with your family.
  • When it comes to deemed consent, which individuals are part of the excluded group?

    • -Children;
    • -Individuals who lack capacity; and
    • -Individuals who were not ordinarily resident in the Bailiwick in the 12 months prior to their death.
  • If I decide to donate my organs and I am in a serious accident, will the doctors still try to save my life?

    • Yes. Whether you have chosen to donate your organs or not, all healthcare professionals have a duty of care to try and save your life.
  • Do I have to donate all my organs?

    • No. When you register a decision to donate your organs you will be asked whether you want to donate some or all of them. Commonly occurring and well established transplants such as liver, kidney, lung and heart transplant are covered by the Bailiwick Law, novel transplant procedures are not.
  • Who will remove my organs?

    • A specialist team of doctors and nurses from the NHS will be asked to travel to Guernsey to carefully remove the organs that you have agreed to donate.
  • Will my body be taken to the UK (United Kingdom)?

    • No. Your body will remain in Guernsey.
    • If you pass away in Guernsey and you are a resident of Alderney or Sark, your body will be returned to Alderney or Sark as it would usually.
  • Will I still be able to have a funeral?

    • Yes. Your funeral plans will not be affected by organ donation.
  • Is organ donation aligned to my religious beliefs?

    • All the major religions and belief systems are open to the principles of organ donation and accept that it is an individual choice. You can read information about your religion or belief system and organ donation here.
  • I would like to donate my organs, where do I register my decision?

    • You can register your decision to donate on the NHS Organ Donor Register here. Once you have registered your decision, please make sure you let your family and close friends know what you have decided.
  • I do not want to donate my organs, where do I register my decision?

    • You can register your decision not to donate on the NHS Organ Donor Register here. Once you have registered your decision, please make sure you let your family and close friends know what you have decided.
  • What happens if I change my mind about my decision?

    • You can change your mind at any time. If you have registered a decision on the NHS Donor Register and would like to change it, you can do so here. Please let your family and close friends know what you have decided.
    • If you have registered a decision on the NHS Donor Register and would like to remove this decision and your personal details, please click here. Please be aware that removing a decision from the Organ Donor Register is different from opting out of donating your organs. If a decision about organ donation is not recorded for you (and you are not in a group excluded from opt-out legislation) from 1st January 2023 it will be considered that you agree to be an organ donor. This is known as deemed consent.
    • If you do not want to donate your organs, please register this wish here and let your family and close friends know about your choice.
  • Can I nominate someone to make the decision for me?

    • If you would prefer for someone else to make your organ decision for you, you can appoint someone to do this for you. Please make sure that you discuss this with them because they can refuse the appointment.
    • The easiest and most straightforward way to appoint someone is via the NHS Organ Donor Register which you can access here.
  • Can children donate their organs?

    • Yes, but the deemed consent system does not apply to children.
    • Express consent must be obtained from the child and/or their family for organ donation to go ahead.

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