Disappointing donor week: Majority of Dutch say "no" to being an organ donor

Organ donation campaign (Picture: Twitter/@Celvalicious)Organ donation campaign (Picture: Twitter/@Celvalicious)

For the first time ever more Dutch said "no" to being an organ donor during Donor week than "yes", the Ministry of Public Health Announced. And it wasn't even only one or two more in the no camp. A massive 87 percent of new registrations explicitly stated that the person does not want to be an organ donor.

During Donor Week - October 10th to 17th - the Ministry received 31,844 new registrations. Only 5,414 people registered as organ donor. The other 26,430 will not donate their organs after death. A number of people also changed their existing registration, but this also turned out negatively. 6,511 changed to "yes", but 11,025 changed to "no".

In the past two years the new and changed registrations added up to 86 percent "yes" and 14 percent "no". This year the the opposite happened - 24 percent registered or changed to "yes" and 76 percent to "no".

This may have to do with a new Donor Law proposal that was accepted by the Tweede Kamer - the lower house of Dutch parliament - by the narrowest possible majority. The proposed law calls for automatic donor registration. If you fail to register whether or not you want to be a donor, you are automatically registered as a "yes". Though your organs will only be used with your family's consent.

The law still has to go through the Eerste Kamer - the Dutch Senate - before it can be implemented. It is highly questionable whether it will get majority support there, according to ANP.

D66 parliamentarian Pia Dijkstra, the advocate for the new donor law, called the results of Donor Week "obviously disappointing". Last year 134 people died because they could not get an organ they needed. More than a thousand people in the Netherlands are waiting for an organ. "They benefit from more donors. I will continue to work for more people to actively register so that more donor patients can be helped", she said to the news wire.