A new law would make all adults in the Netherlands organ donors — unless they opt out of the system.
The law was narrowly approved by the Dutch Senate on Tuesday in a 38-36 vote. It passed the lower house of Parliament in 2016 by a slim 75-74 margin.
The law is expected to be implemented in 2020 after approval from King Willem-Alexander.
The new policy is meant to help fix a shortage in organ donations in the Netherlands, according to its drafter, Pia Dijkstra, a member of the House of Representatives.
Every person over 18 who is not registered will receive a letter asking whether they wish to donate their organs. Failure to respond to this letter — or another six weeks later — will result in that person being considered a donor by default.
“They will be able to reply: yes, no, my next of kin will decide or a specific person will decide,” Djikstra said in a statement.
Anyone can change their organ donation status at any time, according to the bill.
There are about 1,100 people waiting for organ donation in the Netherlands, according to Jeantine Reiger, communications manager for the Dutch Transplant Foundation.
The law is also meant to put less pressure on family members to decide the fate of their loved one’s organs, she said.
“When no registration about the donatee is available, the bereaved have to decide on donation of the organs,” Reiger said. “That is very difficult for them. They are emotionally shaken by the sudden death of their family member.”
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SOURCE: CNN, Mark Lieber