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It’s vital to share your organ donation wishes

09 September 2020
Organ donation week 2020

Families are being urged to talk to their loved ones about organ donation to increase the number of people whose lives can be saved or transformed by an organ transplant.

As part of national Organ Donation Week, everyone is encouraged to make sure their loved ones are aware of their wishes.

Kidney Research UK chief executive Sandra Currie said:

“There are around 5,000 people on the urgent list for a kidney transplant. On average people wait around two years for a life-saving operation; many sadly don’t get a match in time. If we can reduce the waiting time, we will improve their chances of a successful transplant, and prevent more people from dying due to a lack of available organs. Research is key.

“We are urgently researching how to help more people have life-saving transplants and making transplants last a lifetime. This includes looking at rescuing organs which would previously have been unsuitable and discarded, making transplanted organs last longer and improving the quality of life for people after their transplant.

“There are no instant answers. In the meantime, organ donation continues to be essential.

“Knowing what your relative wishes after they die helps families with their decision around organ donation at what is often a difficult time.

“While most people agree it is important to talk to their family about organ donation, it is less likely that they will have actually had this important conversation.

“Sadly, many life-saving opportunities are lost every year because families don’t know if their loved one wanted to be a donor or not. Please don’t wait to share your wishes with your loved ones, speak to your family about organ donation today.”

Organ donation law change

In May this year, the law around organ donation changed in England. All adults are considered as having agreed to donate their own organs when they die, unless they record a decision not to donate, are in one of the excluded groups or have told their family that they don’t want to donate.

Anthony Clarkson, director of organ donation and transplantation for NHS Blood and Transplant said: “Even now the law has changed, families will continue to be approached before organ donation goes ahead. It remains so important to talk to your families and ensure they know what you would want to happen.

“Register your organ donation decision on the NHS Organ Donor Register and tell your family the choice you have made. If the time comes, we know families find the organ donation conversation with nurses or medical teams much easier if they already know what their relative wanted.”

Find out more

Find out more and register your decision by visiting NHS Organ Donor Register at and share your decision with your family. Find out more about our research to improve transplantation outcomes.

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