You are currently viewing The Dáil Passed The Human Tissue Bill Which Will Now Go To The President To Be Signed Into Law

The Dáil Passed The Human Tissue Bill Which Will Now Go To The President To Be Signed Into Law

The Dáil Passed The Human Tissue Bill On Wednesday, 21 February, Which Will Now Go To The President To Be Signed Into Law.

Family Consent For Organ Donation Is Still Required Under New Legislation The Irish Kidney Association (IKA), a leading advocate for organ donation and transplantation with over 45 years of experience, extends its heartfelt congratulations to the Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly T.D. and his team for overseeing the successful passage through the Oireachtas of the Human Tissue Bill. This landmark legislation, once signed into law by the President of Ireland, will mark a pivotal moment in the advancement of organ donation and transplantation in Ireland, providing a long-awaited legal framework for these life saving practices.

The Irish Kidney Association is now calling for a clear public information campaign about the implications of the legislation to assure families that they will continue to have a vital role, noting that the media has an important role to play also. The Bill introduces a soft Opt-Out register, signifying a cultural shift where it is assumed that everyone is a potential donor unless they register to Opt Out. In cases where a person has recorded their decision not to donate on the Opt-Out register their decision will be respected and their families will not be approached. It’s important to clarify that while individuals have the option to opt out, families will still be consulted in cases where a loved one has not opted out. This ensures that an individual’s autonomy and the consent of families remains central to the organ donation process.

In stressing the importance of family involvement, Carol Moore, Chief Executive of the Irish Kidney Association, stated, “It is crucial that there is an effective public information awareness campaign providing clarity about the new legislation and the vital role of families. Amidst the legislative changes, the decisions of families remain at the heart of the organ donation process. Therefore, the continued need for individuals to openly share their wishes regarding organ donation with their loved ones cannot be overstated.“The key difference under the new legislation will be that rather than being asked to consent to organ donation, families will be asked if they know any reason why their loved one would not consent to organ donation for transplantation.”

“The media can also contribute by communicating the central role that families will continue to have in consenting to organ donation. When the legislation comes into effect, it is essential that national campaigns provide clear information to the public on the implications of the new law, emphasising the critical role each person and their loved ones play in the organ donation process. This will reinforce the value of letting your family know your organ donation decision before the unthinkable happens. The Organ Donor Card remains a useful icebreaker for this conversation.” “Additionally, it is a positive development that the legislation will also provide for the introduction of altruistic living kidney donation in the State, addressing a significant gap in current practices and providing opportunities for those wishing to donate altruistically.”

“The Irish Kidney Association commends the Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly and his team, and also Senator Mark Daly, for their pivotal role in advancing the Bill to legislation. It is important to acknowledge and applaud the role health professionals who continue to work at the coal face of organ donation and transplantation, but most of all we must remember and celebrate the selflessness of organ donor families. Organ donation can be a very positive legacy to leave your loved ones. To quote some donor families; “Organ donation was a bright light in a very dark time” and “our loved one lives on in others”.”

Senator Mark Daly who represents the Irish Kidney Association in the Seanad said “the passage of the legislation, led by Minister Stephen Donnelly, will help transform and save lives. At this time in particular I want to remember the families who have made the difficult choices at the most heartbreaking time”

To ensure informed public engagement with organ donation for transplantation, it is important to look at the context in which this legislation is being introduced. Only around 1% of people die in circumstances where organ donation may be possible, which means, in most cases, dying in an intensive care unit. This immediately highlights the limited possibilities for organ donation and the need for every potential donor to be identified and consent from family for donation to be given.
The Irish Kidney Association has been raising awareness of organ donation for transplantation for over 45 years and is part-funded by the HSE to issue organ donor cards nationally and run the annual national Organ Donor Awareness Week campaign with the balance of costs reliant on the Association’s fundraising activities. Organ Donor Awareness Week 2024 will take place from 20-27 April. The campaign’s message is ‘Don’t Leave Your Loved Ones in Doubt, #LeaveNoDoubt’ emphasising the need for family conversation and letting your decision be known.
Under the Driving Licence application process, over 1.5 million people have proactively ticked a box to express their consent to organ donation. This is a very positive number given that there has been no publicity around this option, but it is crucial to note that sharing your organ donation decision with your family remains the key to ensuring more families consent to organ donation.