Young, and minorities are not registering their organ donation wishes

Masks and gowns were in short supply in 2020. Photo:

Two weeks ahead of the launch of the new ‘opt out’ organ donor register in the Netherlands, some 50% of people have still not registered their wishes, broadcaster NOS said on Wednesday.

At the beginning of this year, 6.9 million people aged 18 and older had give their choices to the register, and that had risen to 7.1 million by April.

Most of the new sign-ups have said they do not wish to make their organs available if they should die, NOS said, quoting research by national statistics agency CBS.

The under 20s have been hard to reach so far, and three-quarters of them have yet to register their wishes. People with non-Dutch roots are also less likely to have registered, NOS said.

Health minister Martin van Rijn said last month that he had decided to delay sending out a reminder to those who have not yet signed up until September because it would not be appropriate to do so at present.

People who do not respond at all will be automatically taken to consent to organ donation. This ‘yes, unless’ system proved controversial and the law, proposed by D66 MP Pia Dijkstra in 2018, only narrowly made it through parliament.

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