‘Opt-out’ organ donation

5 August 2018

Following a government consultation on organ and tissue donation in England, the government announced that an 'opt-out' rather than 'opt-in' system would be introduced in spring 2020.

Known as Max's Law, the proposed system would ensure that organs could be donated after someone's death without having to gain consent from an individual's family or loved ones, unless the individual had previously opted out of donating.

In the consultation outcome document, the Department of Health and Social Care committed to a national advertising campaign to raise public awareness of the new system. The government also considered the different impacts of changing the system on people from different backgrounds and of different faith systems, and proposed certain exceptions from automatic enrolment (including for people aged under 18).

The British Heart Foundation praised the plans, highlighting the 'desperate shortage of organ donors in the UK' and the general public's support for changing the system.

Max and Keira's Bill passed into law on 15 March 2019.


Department of Health and Social Care.
Consultation on introducing ‘opt-out’ consent for organ and tissue donation in England [webpage].
UK government; 2018.

Webster A.
Government announce opt-out system for organ donation [webpage].
British Heart Foundation; 2018.

Department of Health and Social Care.
Opt-out organ donation: Max and Keira's Bill passed into law.
UK government; 2019.