Is presumed consent the answer to organ shortages? NoBMJ 2007; 334 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.39199.492894.AD (Published 24 May 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;334:1089
- Linda Wright, bioethicist
- University Health Network and Joint Centre for Bioethics, University of Toronto, Toronto General Hospital, Toronto ON, Canada M5G 2N2
Presumed consent will not answer the organ shortage. It has not eliminated waiting lists despite evidence that it increased organ donation in some countries.1 Systems of opting out do not ensure higher rates of donation than opting-in systems.2 Strategies to encourage people to donate and public education seem to help and are independent of whether people have to opt in or out. The shortage of organs has multiple causes; no single strategy is likely to solve it.
Controversy over presumed consent
Presumed consent refers to laws that permit the procurement of organs without explicit permission.3 The term is used widely in discussion of systems of opting in or opting out of organ donation. The US Institute of Medicine is concerned that the introduction of presumed consent without …