Thursday 09 February 2023

New Dutch organ donation law will apply to everyone officially registered in NL


The Dutch senate on Tuesday narrowly voted in favour of a new law to change the Dutch organ donation system to a ‘yes unless’ register. The new system will apply to everyone over the age of 18 and registered as resident in the Netherlands with their local authority, including foreign nationals.

A spokesman for the health ministry told that it will depend on how expats are registered whether or not they are included in the register.

‘The law is coming into effect in the summer of 2020 and before then there will be campaigns to reach everyone as much as possible,’ the spokesman said. ‘The government will also talk to doctors, patients associations and other organisations to develop protocols … to decide how specific cases should be dealt with.’

The health ministry has immediately launched a campaign to brief people on the new rules – but only in Dutch at present. Here’s an unofficial summary in English.

When does the new Active Donor Registration (ADR) law come into effect?
In the summer of 2020. Until then the old law is still valid which means you will only become a donor if you have explicitly expressed a wish to that effect.

What will change with the new law?
At the moment you can decide on one of four options about donating your organs: yes, no, my partner decides, my relatives decide. From 2020 people who do not opt for any of these will automatically be registered as a donor. But in any case – and this has been a contentious issue – relatives will still have the final word, even if the deceased has given permission for his organs to be used.

Will I become a donor without me knowing about it?
No. Every person aged 18 or older will get a letter in which they are invited to choose an option. If the person does not respond another letter will be sent. In the absence of a response the person will be registered as having ‘no objection’ to donating his/her organs.

How do I register my preference?
You can go to the donor register, or state your preference on a form available from hospitals and town halls. You can change your preference at any time. If you want to state your preference online, you will need a Digid, or digital signature.

Will all my organs be donated with the new law?
No. You can still choose which organs you would like to donate.

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