Israel’s Health Minister German to draft legislation that would proliferate organ donation. Gov’t to assume Israelis agree to harvest their organs unless they actively opt out.
Meital Yasur Beit-Or
New draft legislation would let Israeli doctors recover the organs of deceased Israelis even without their explicit consent, Israeli Health Minister Yael German announced on Sunday.
All Israelis could soon be added to the organ donor registry if Israel moves to an opt-out system – Photo: Getty Images
German would like to transform the current opt-in system, where Israelis have to make an express wish to donate their organs upon death, into an opt-out system, in which all adults would be presumed to have granted permission to harvest their organs unless they actively choose to be taken out of the donor pool.
The new system is modeled on other countries’ organ donation mechanisms in which all citizens are automatically added to the donor registry at a certain point in their lives. According to the plan, Israelis will have effectively agreed to donate their organs once they apply for a new driver’s license (usually within two years of their first license). Israelis who do not want their organs donated would be given the opportunity to change the method in which their organs are treated once they die. “They would automatically be considered organ donors [when they renew their license] unless they take explicit action to undo that, by specifying a phone number to call upon their death or by filling out a form indicating they want to keep their body in tact,” German told Israel Hayom on Sunday. Health officials want to complement the new legislation by promising more services to Israelis who sign a donor card.
According to the National Transplant Center, only in half of all cases where a patient was declared brain dead did the family donate the organs of their loved one. Activists have tried to increase organ donation rates through various ways over the years but legislation has stalled.
In April, Israel Hayom was the first to report on a new government plan to allow what is known as non-heart-beating donation. This procedure involves patients who, while not brain dead, no longer have a viable heart that can pump blood.
German is also working on a plan that would grant same-sex couples the same rights as opposite-sex couples when it comes to having a child through a surrogate mother. This would allow gay couples to have a child in Israel rather than seek a surrogate mother overseas.
German’s plan diverges from the findings of the Mor-Yosef commission, which recommended that gay couples would not have to pay for the procedure. The chairman of the commission, Professor Shlomo Mor-Yosef, explained at the time that this would ensure the system would not be overwhelmed by people who would want to profit from the system, and would serve as a measure against prohibitive costs.
View original Israel Hayom publication at: http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_article.php?id=10055