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'Opt out' system could solve donor organ shortage, says researcher
Date:10/31/2008

A system of presumed consent for organ donation - where people have to opt out of donating their organs when they die - is the best way to tackle a growing waiting list for transplant.

That is the opinion of Dr John Troyer, an expert in organ donation and the illegal trade of body parts, who has recently joined the University of Bath's Centre for Death & Society.

There are more than 7,500 patients in the UK currently on the waiting list for organ donations. Whilst nearly 16 million people in the UK, a quarter of the population, are registered as organ donors, bereaved families have the final say as to whether the organs of their loved ones are used in a transplant. This can lead to delays and can sometimes mean that the deceased person's organs are not used.

Dr John Troyer, who started a RCUK fellowship at the University in September, said: "In the UK we currently have an 'opt in' system of organ donation, where donors can register their consent for their organs to be used after their death.

"I believe a better alternative to this would be an 'opt out' or so-called presumed consent system where organs are used unless the person has specified their wish otherwise. This would encourage people to talk to their loved ones about donating their organs when they die and could have a real impact on the huge waiting list."

Dr Troyer says there is currently an illegal global trade in most body parts, with teeth, nails and bones being sold on the black market to be used as pharmaceutical products and skin being used to treat burns victims.

Organs such as kidneys are also being sold by living donors for large sums of money, with organs from the third world sometimes being used for first world patients who are desperate for a life-saving operation.

Some experts are calling for the selling of organs to be regulated rather than outlawed, to try and increase organ donation and to ensure a fair price to dono
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Contact: Vicky Just
v.j.just@bath.ac.uk
44-012-253-86883
University of Bath
Source:Eurekalert  

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