All Albertans may become organ donors with new "opt-out" system

Nov 7 2019, 9:56 am

Alberta might be moving to an “opt-out” system of organ donation, based on a bill passed in legislature on Wednesday.

Currently, Alberta has an “opt-in” organ donation system, where those wishing to donate can register as donors online.

According to the bill, consent will be presumed on the part of Albertans, who would have to opt-out of organ donation if they do not wish to donate. “If at the time of a person’s death no decision has been made,” the bill states, “the person is considered to have, before their death, made the decision to donate their organs and tissues for the purpose of transplantation only.”

The act would exempt minors and those who did not live in Alberta for a 12-month period immediately preceding the day on which they died.

According to Alberta Health Services, there are over 4,500 Canadians (700 of whom are Albertans) waiting for a transplant that will save their lives, and even more people are waiting for tissue transplants that will improve the quality of their lives. AHS also states that one organ and tissue donor can save up to eight lives and make life better for up to 75 other people.

Bill 205 passed first reading and will now be referred to the Standing Committee on Private Bills and Private Members’ Public Bills.

For more information on the current registration system, visit Alberta Health Services.