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Presumed consent Three-quarters of Swiss back new organ donation system

Person with a donor card

2018 saw a record number of organ donors in Switzerland


Three out of four Swiss (76%) are in favour of a new organ donation system that would move from explicit to presumed consent, according to a survey. The same proportion would also be willing to donate their organs after their death. 

The population seems ready for change, said Swisstransplantexternal link on Monday. The national foundation for organ transplants and donations had commissioned the representative study by the gfs.bern research institute. 

The results show that the people’s initiativeexternal link “Saving Lives by Promoting Organ Donation”, handed in to federal authorities in April, could enjoy strong popular support. 

The initiative, which is backed by Swisstransplant, proposes a switch to presumed consent, reversing the current opt-in policy, which requires explicit consent from potential donors. 

The government has submitted an indirect counterproposal, approving the initiative but adding in its text the right of relatives to decide in the absence of documented opposition. 

Donor register 

In October 2018 Swisstransplant launched an online national organ donor registerexternal link intended to be a practical alternative to the traditional donor card system. It will allow relatives to know for certain whether a dead family member really wanted to donate their organs. 

Last year saw a record number of organ donors in Switzerland, 18.6 per one million residents. The authorities hope to increase the number to 22 by 2021.

GfS Bern questioned 1,205 Swiss people between August 19 and September 2.

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