The people’s initiative to introduce presumed consent for organ donation has received the minimum number of signatures, helping it move one step closer to a nationwide vote.
On Tuesday, the Federal Chancellery announced that the “Promote organ donation – save livesexternal link” initiative cleared a critical hurdle, receiving 112,633 votes. The proposal seeks to amend the constitution to reverse the explicit ‘opt-in’ policy of consent by a potential organ donor and introduce the principle of presumed consent.
With presumed consent, organs may be removed from a deceased person if the person did not object during their lifetime.
In October 2018, an organ donor register was launched to allow relatives to know for certain whether a family member who passes away really wanted to donate their organs. At the end of 2018, approximately 44,000 people were registered.
The people’s initiative was launched in 2017 by the Swiss chapter of the Junior Chamber International – an international NGO of entrepreneurs aged 18-40 – and the non-profit Swisstransplant foundation.
The campaigners hope to significantly increase the number of organ and tissue donors in Switzerland. At the end of last year, some 1,500 patients were on the transplant waiting list.
While the number of donors is slowly increasing in Europe, Switzerland remains in the bottom third for organ donations. In 2018, it was reported that the donor rate per million inhabitants increased from 13.7 in 2013 to 18.6 but this remained below the government target of 20 per million.