Denmark is planning to change its law on organ donation, so that all legal-age citizens will be automatically added to the list of organ donors. Currently, only those who have separately registered are included in the list. If this change goes through, Danes will need to opt-out if they do not want their organs used after death. This would put Denmark in line with Finland and other European countries where it’s assumed the deceased is a potential organ donor unless they’ve declined during their lifetime.
The purpose of this change is to increase the number of organs available for transplants, as there are currently more than 400 Danes on the waiting list for a new organ. The government stresses that people will always have the option to remove themselves from the list and relatives can also decide not to use the deceased’s organs.
Opposition has come from the Danish Ethics Council, which has recommended against changing current policy on organ donation. They argue that the right to decide about one’s own body is an important principle of healthcare and that there are no clear differences between countries in terms of organ donations, regardless of whether people are automatically or not on the list.
However, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen emphasizes that this proposal is meant to spark a broad discussion on the topic rather than force it through. Last year, 113 Danes donated their organs after death, and Foreign Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen has pointed out that about two-thirds of Danes have already indicated whether they want their organs used or not. The government believes that by making everyone automatically on the list, it will encourage more people to make a decision about organ donation.