Relatives will have a say in organ donation in ‘yes unless’ donor register


Relatives who really do not want their family member to donate their organs after death will still have the final say if the Netherlands switches to a ‘yes unless’ donor register, the bill’s backer Pia Dijkstra said on Friday.

Dijkstra, an MP for the Liberal democratic party, was told earlier this week by senators to go into more detail about the role of relatives in her plan which is currently on the table in the upper house of parliament.

Relatives will have priority if they have very major objections, even if the deceased had expressly backed donation, Dijkstra said.

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 on February 13 and it is still doubtful about whether or not it will win majority support in the 75-seat upper house of parliament.

Senators from the CDA, PvdA and GroenLinks had said they were concerned about the role of relatives, and suggested that they should be given a veto. This, Dijkstra said, is going too far.

However, ‘in case of relatives having major psychological issues [with a decision], a doctor will opt to let the relatives’ objections prevail,’ Dijkstra said.