On Friday, the Organ Donation (Deemed Consent) Bill became an act of parliament in England. The Organ Donation Act will make being an organ donor the default for healthy adults, unless they choose to opt-out. Also known as Max and Keira's law, the bill is named in honor of a boy who was in need of a heart transplant and the girl who donated it. More than 6,000 people currently wait for an organ donation in the UK alone, and three die every day. The new law effective in 2020 will provide organs to those in need of them.
According to government information site gov.uk, the government aims to launch awareness campaigns to inform the public of the new system. People excluded from the plan include children under 18, people who lack the mental ability to understand the bill before their death, and those that haven’t lived within the country for 12 months before their death.
While 80% of the population in England support organ donation, only 38% have opted in, causing families to face a difficult decision when a loved one dies. Less than 50% of families opt their deceased loved ones into organ donation if they are unaware of their wishes.
“I’m delighted Max and Keira’s law has passed today,” Prime Minister Theresa May said after the law passed. “It marks a momentous step for thousands of people in need of a life-saving transplant, and could save as many as 700 lives a year.”