The Organ Donation (Presumed Consent) Bill 2008-2009) which can be accessed here is currently before Parliament and is a Private Members' Bill (Ballot Bill) that was introduced by Liberal Democrat MP Jeremy Browne.

The aim of the Bill is to introduce a presumption that consent has been given for the donation of organs for transplantation unless the person who has died has previously registered an objection to this. Exceptions to the presumption would only be made:

  • if a person close to the donor (spouse, partner, child or parent) could provide information that the deceased had expressed an objection to organ donation that had not been registered; or
  • if proceeding with the donation would cause distress to the person’s spouse, partner, parent or child.

The Bill would establish a register of persons who object to their organs being used for transplantation, and would impose a requirement for the register to be consulted before any transplants took place.

Two registered medical practitioners would have to certify the death in order for transplantation to be authorised. Without this authorisation, the Bill would further provide that organs could not be removed.

The possible change in law was backed by Gordon Brown in November last year, stating that unless the new NHSBT health campaign aiming to increase the number of donors signing up to the register was successful, he would “not rule out a change in the law”.

Recently, the debate was completed on 19 June and is currently waiting for a date to begin its consideration in a public bill committee.

The number of people on the organ donor register in the UK has hit a record 16 million, meeting a government target of doubling 2001's numbers a year early.