How does organ donation work, how can you opt out, what is Max and Kiera's Law and what's presumed consent?

THE NHS says more than 50,000 people are alive in the UK today because of organ transplant.

With Max and Keira's Law coming into effect today, here's everything you need to know.

What is organ donation?

Organ donation is when someone gives an organ to help someone who needs a transplant.

There is no age limit on being a donor, but a few medical conditions can prevent you from donating.

You can donate after death or as a living donation.

The latter only applies to donating a kidney, a small part of your liver, bone from a hip or knee replacement or your placenta.

What is Max and Keira's Law?

Max and Keira's Law is the new organ donor system which comes into effect on May 20, 2020.

The new rules mean that everyone over 18 will donate their organs for transplant when they die, unless they actively register their wish not to.

But families will still be involved before organ donation goes ahead.

Under-18s, people with limited mental capacity and others who have not lived in England for at least a year prior to their death will be exempt from the scheme.

Parents will still be able to give consent for those under 18 years old to donate their organs upon death.

Those who do not wish to donate can record this on the NHS register either online or by phone.

The legislation is named after Max Johnson and Keira Ball.

When Keira, nine, was killed in a car crash, her heart was donated to save the life of Max, also nine, who would have otherwise died from heart failure.

What is 'presumed consent' and what is the 'opt out' bill?

Wales switched to a "presumed consent" system in December 2015 where deceased adults are considered agreeing to donate unless they "opt out".

Organ donation and transplants have since risen sharply, with just six per cent of the adult population opting out.

Theresa May proposed a wider move to this system (the "opt out" bill) during a speech at the Tory party conference in Manchester in 2017.

She said: "Our ability to help people who need transplants is limited by the number of organ donors that come forward.

"That is why [in 2016] 500 people died because a suitable organ was not available. And there are 6,500 on the transplant list today."

What organs can be donated?

There are a number or organs that you can select to be donated.

These are:

  • Heart
  • Liver
  • Lungs
  • Kidneys
  • Pancreas
  • Small intestine
  • Tissue (from heart valves, skin, bone, tendons, eyes etc)
  • Corneas (tissue at the front of your eye)

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