More Dutch say 'no' to donating organs

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

The number of Dutch who explicitly said 'no' to being organ donors increased by 152 thousand to 1.71 million since early 2016, Statistics Netherlands announced on Wednesday. In the same period the number of people who did give permission for their organs to be donated also increased, by 36 thousand to 3.6 million.

Currently over 6 million Dutch aged 12 years an older are registered in the donor register. That is about 41 percent of Dutch in that age group. 28 percent of them explicitly indicated that they will not be organ donors. Over 700 thousand people are leaving the decision up to their relatives.

In September last year the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of parliament, adopted a legislative amendment that says that all persons over the age of 18 will be asked in writing whether they want to be a donor or not. If they fail to respond after two letters, it is assumed that they have no objection to being an organ donor. This means that their organs and tissue can be used for transplants or scientific research after their deaths, though their family can still object to this. 

The legislative amendment still has to pass through the Eerste Kamer, the Dutch Senate, so it hasn't been implemented yet.

According to Statistics Netherlands, in the months after parliament adopted the bill, the number of Dutch actively registering as donor or not increased significantly.

D66 parliamentarian Pia Dijkstra submitted the legislative amendment. She thinks the increasing registrations is a good thing, she said to newspaper ANP. "Also a no-registration gives clarity. This will ensure that relatives don't have to face this hard choice in difficult moments."