Presumed Consent for Organ Donation

The Canadian Liver Foundation supports the concept of “presumed consent for organ donation”.

Canada has one of the worst records for organ donation in the Western world.  As a result, many patients with liver disease die while waiting for a liver transplant.  Living donation has helped, but the waiting list mortality is still high. Unlike kidney, there is no dialysis to keep patients alive until an organ is found. Presumed consent for organ donation means that, unless otherwise specified, a person is presumed to have consented to organ donation in the case of their accidental death. Relatives can always over-ride presumed consent.  

Countries that have presumed consent have high organ donor rates.  Even if presumed consent is often over-ridden by family members, its presence will inevitably result in improved organ donation rates.  However, unless presumed consent is adopted there will be no improvement in liver transplant waiting list mortality.  

To download a PDF of this position statement, click here.