Regulations at a glance: In Germany, the willingness to donate organs is poor - it works better elsewhere

Organ donations save lives.

Regulations at a glance: In Germany, the willingness to donate organs is poor - it works better elsewhere

Organ donations save lives. But year after year, a number of seriously ill people in Germany find themselves - in vain - on waiting lists to receive a kidney or a new heart. In this country, the rule for organ donations is that they must be expressly consented to. Either by the donor himself during his lifetime (consent solution) or - in the event of death - by the relatives (extended consent solution). Denmark, Greece, Great Britain, Iceland, Lithuania, Malta, Romania, Ukraine and Switzerland also use this procedure.

Since 2020, after a legal modification, the consent regulation has also been called the decision solution. Every individual should concern themselves more with the topic. This is intended to encourage you to make your own decision - ideally a positive one. The health insurance companies regularly send out information material and ask their members to make a decision.

The portal www.organspende-register.de has now been set up to make it easier to show your willingness to donate. It will go into operation gradually: from Monday you can register there using an ID card with an online function. In the second step on July 1st, clinics that remove organs will be able to search for and access declarations in the register. By September 30th at the latest, it should finally be possible to register via health insurance apps.

It remains to be seen whether the innovations will lead to an increase in willingness to donate. Around 8,500 people are currently on the waiting list for a donor organ in Germany. In 2022, there were 869 organ donors nationwide (or 965 as a provisional number for 2023, as the German Organ Transplantation Foundation announced in an interview with stern).

This corresponds to 10.3 organ donors per million inhabitants (2022). In an international comparison, Germany is one of the worst performers. In Europe, Spain regularly leads the statistics. In 2021, there were 46.0 organ donors per million inhabitants. So what exactly do others do differently?

The contradiction solution is the most widespread organ donation regulation in Europe. Deceased people become organ donors if they did not expressly object to organ removal during their lifetime. This applies in Spain, France, Italy, Austria, the Netherlands, Belgium and 15 other European countries.

As an exception to all other countries, Bulgaria still has the so-called emergency regulation. In addition to the objection regulation, which is also provided here, the law states that in the event of an “emergency” – despite the existence of an objection – organ removal is possible.

Sources: Federal Center for Civic Education, Organ Donation Information, European. Consumer Center

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