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New Dutch Law Makes All Adults Organ Donors by Default Starting in 2020

Country Correspondent: Marthe Haverkamp

In February 2018, the Dutch government passed a law that considers all adult citizens organ donors unless they actively opt out by sending in a form. After a fierce debate, the law was accepted with 38 votes in favor and 36 against. Among the most contentious issues was the role of direct relatives in the decision-making process. Under the new law, family members, in joint discussion with the physician team, can overrule the decision made by a deceased relative. This provision does not change the current situation whereby the family and physicians jointly decide on donation based on the patient’s wishes, if these are known. The new donor law goes into effect in July 2020.


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