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All Icelanders To Be Organ Donors By Default

All Icelanders To Be Organ Donors By Default

Photos by
CMSRC/Wikimedia Commons

Published June 6, 2018

A crucial law on organ donations that was first introduced to Iceland’s Parliament in 2012 has finally passed. From this point forward, all Icelanders will be organ donors by default, unless they specify otherwise.

This version of the law was introduced by Progressive Party MPs Silja Dögg Gunnarsdóttir and Willum Þór Þórsson, but it was actually first submitted by Siv Friðleifsdóttir, who was also an MP for the Progressives, in 2012.

The concept of the law is fairly simple. All Icelanders will be assumed to be organ donors by default, with two exceptions: if the deceased specified beforehand that they do not want their organs to be removed, or if the deceased said nothing on the matter but their closest relative objects.

As reported, the bill is far from revolutionary. Other Scandinavian countries have similar laws on the books already. Studies conducted in Iceland showed that when asked, people about to die were only willing to donate their organs 60% of the time.

With a shortage of available organs, not only in Iceland but around the world, this law hopes to shorten waiting times for potentially life-saving procedures.

The Ministry of Welfare will soon make a formal introductory announcement about the matter, to better acquaint Icelanders with the new law and its policies.


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