Push for ‘ opt- out’ organs
AUSTRALIANS will have to donate their organs when they die unless they opt out under major changes proposed by a parliamentary committee.
In a bid to stamp out the illegal trade in organ donation, MPs are considering an “optout” approach.
The opt-out policy means people are presumed to be organ donors unless they officially register to opt out.
Federal MPs have also recommended the law be changed so Australians who have an illegal organ transplant overseas are charged with a crime when they return to Australia.
And they want it to be mandatory for doctors to report suspicions if they believe a patient has had an illegal organ transplant overseas.
The Sunday Telegraph revealed in 2016 how almost 100 desperate Australians had travelled overseas to buy organs on the black market, paying up to $250,000 for a kidney transplant.
The three-year investigation revealed how a shortage of organs was driving the trade.
A parliamentary inquiry wants Australia to consider switching to an opt-out system under which it would be assumed you are a donor.
Of the top 10 organ donating countries in the world, seven have been “opt out” for a number of years, and two more have adopted an opt-out system in the past year.
Dr Helen Opdam, national medical director of the Australian Organ and Tissue Authority, told the committee an optout system was not a “silver bullet” as it could lead to families not discussing organ donation and suspicion that people’s wishes may not be taken into account. However, the committee said increasing the organ donation rate in Australia would be a highly effective method to reduce transplant tourism as fewer patients would feel the need to seek organs from elsewhere.