Q&A: What is changing for organ donation and disposal?

Q&A: What is changing for organ donation and disposal?

If passed by the Oireachtas, the legislation will mean that everyone will be considered an organ donor – unless someone registers their non-consent to having their organs donated after their death. File picture: Conor McCabe Photography

What is the Human Tissue (Transplantation, Post-Mortem, Anatomical Examination and Public Display) Bill?

A. It is legislation which will provide a legislative framework for donation and transplant services; post-mortem procedures; the public display of human remains, and anatomical examination.

What changes will it bring to organ donation?

A. If passed by the Oireachtas, the legislation will mean that everyone will be considered an organ donor – unless someone registers their non-consent to having their organs donated after their death. This is referred to as a soft opt-out system of consent. 

Currently, decisions on organ donation are the responsibility of the deceased person’s next-of-kin and assumes that an individual has a desire to donate their organs after their death unless they make a statement of objection to donation. Under the new legislation, the next-of-kin of the deceased will be consulted before any action is taken. However, the wishes of the deceased person should be central to this decision.

How will it affect transplantation?

A. The bill provides a framework for the donation of organs, tissues and cells from living donors including the introduction of a legislative basis for non-directed altruistic living donation. The measure is expected to help increase the pool of donors in Ireland to help save lives.

What changes will the legislation bring to post-mortem practice and procedure?

A. The bill will regulate the retention, storage, use, disposal and return of organs and tissue from deceased persons following all post-mortems in hospital settings. This is what the families of the 18 babies whose organs were sent from Cork University Hospital morgue for incineration abroad have been calling for. According to current Health Service Executive standards, organs retained after post-mortem should be sensitively disposed of by burial or cremation only.

Amendments will also be made to the Coroners Act, to ensure that a family is informed “as soon as practicable” that material removed during a post-mortem examination may be kept for death investigation. Authorisation will be required from families in relation to disposal of materials once they are no longer required.

How will it affect the public display of bodies?

A. A licence will be required for the public display of bodies after death. The provisions in the legislation outline the consent arrangements required for the donation of a body or body parts for public display and ensure the provenance of the specimens used.

More in this section

Text header

From florist to fraudster, leaving a trail of destruction from North Cork, to Waterford, to Clare, to Wexford and through the midlands ... learn how mistress of re-invention, Catherine O'Brien, scammed her way around rural Ireland.

War_map
Execution Time: 0.214 s