Organ donation – what are your thoughts?

As part of our series of blogs about the upcoming vote on WI resolutions (for more details, see our earlier blog post), we turn our attention to the often discussed topic of organ donation.  We’re writing these posts to kick-start the debate about these issues in advance of our November meeting; they don’t reflect any particular view or an ‘official’ view of the Sotonettes Committee so please read them with that in mind.  We want to know what our members think so please let us know on Facebook or Twitter.

“The NFWI notes that three people die every day whilst waiting for an organ transplant. We call on every member of the WI to make their wishes regarding organ donation known, and to encourage their families and friends, and members of their local communities to do likewise.”

Did you know you are more likely to need a transplant than become a donor?

Organ donation saves lives; over 3000 people had their lives transformed because of organ donation in 2012. Currently there are over 7000 people waiting for transplants, but only 1% of deaths in the UK result in suitable organ donors. 15% of people on the waiting list are likely to die before receiving a transplant. We can start to change that.

The proposed resolution asks that we encourage our family, friends and local communities to make their wishes on organ donation known. This will help to increase the number of people registered on the Organ Donor Register, but that is only half the story…

Your family can still say no.

Last year, 40% of families refused to let a relative’s organs be donated, regardless of the individual’s wishes. In Croatia, family refusal has reduced to less than 20% through campaigns to improve public awareness and talking about organ donation. (Croatia is one of the world-leading countries according to the deceased donation and transplantation rate).

NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) is calling for a “revolution in consent”. It is not only about registering to be an organ donor but also about discussing your views with your family. The rate of families saying ‘yes’ to consenting a relative’s organ donation is twice as high when they know their loved one had agreed to donate. The barrier is that it doesn’t feel right discussing this with our loved ones. We need to promote this dialogue.

The WI has a strong record in this area. A previous resolution led to the creation of the Organ Donor Register. This time the WI can support a revolution in consent.

For further information, see