Senators to debate controversial organ donor bill, vote is next week

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The Dutch senate will today debate plans to establish a ‘yes unless’ system for donor organs in the Netherlands, 18 months after the legislation was approved by the lower house.

If the draft bill goes on to become law, everyone in the Netherlands will be considered a donor unless they specifically request to be taken off the list.

The vote on the draft legislation will take place next week and it is still doubtful about whether or not it will win majority support in the 75-seat upper house of parliament.




The draft bill was drawn up by D66 parliamentarian Pia Dijkstra. D66 hopes that by establishing an opt-out register, more organs will become available for transplant.

‘This is great news for everyone on the waiting list,’ Dijkstra said after the vote in the lower house in 2016. ‘Every year, 150 people die who could have been alive with a donor organ.’

Research shows that families say no to donation in almost seven out of 10 cases in which a person has not left instructions about their organs. Just 40% of the population have made their wishes plain in the current registration system.