Organ Donation

The law around organ donation is changing in Spring 2020.

If you needed an organ transplant, would you have one?

The organ donation law in England is changing. From 20th May 2020, organ donation in England will move to an ‘opt out’ system. You may also hear it referred to as ‘Max and Keira’s Law’.

This means that all adults in England will be considered to have agreed to be an organ donor when they die unless they have recorded a decision not to donate or are in one of the excluded groups. You still have a choice if you want to be an organ donor or not when you die.

Max and Keira’s Law

From 2020, adults in England will be considered potential donors unless they choose to opt out or are excluded. There are more than 6,000 people currently waiting for an organ in the UK and three of those people on the waiting list die each day. The new law will help to reduce the number of people waiting for a life-saving transplant. Read more here.

Excluded groups

These changes will affect all adults in England unless they have recorded a decision not to donate or are in one of the following excluded groups:

  • Those under the age of 18*
  • People who lack the mental capacity to understand the new arrangements and take the necessary action
  • Visitors to England, and those not living here voluntarily
  • People who have lived in England for less than 12 months before their death

*Even if you’re not 18 yet, you can decide now whether you want to become a donor and act by recording your decision and telling your family.

Get the facts

There is no urgent deadline to record your organ donation decision. Misinformation is circulating. Your organ donation decision is important, whatever it may be. Use the following information to help you make an informed choice, and then tell your family.

Some key facts:

  • Every effort will be made to save your life above all else
  • Death is confirmed in line with strict criteria
  • As a donor, you will be treated with dignity and respect
  • All the major religions and belief systems in the UK support organ donation in principle
  • Your family will always be consulted
  • You can nominate a representative to make a decision on your behalf


Read all of the facts here.

What can I donate?

By registering as an organ donor, you have the option to donate organs such as your heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, pancreas and small bowel. All of these forms of donation can greatly enhance or even save the life of someone in need. To find out more, click on each type of donation below.

The opt out system

A number of countries, along with the UK, have moved – or are moving – to an ‘opt out’ system for organ donation, to help save and improve more lives. With an opt out system, the decision about whether or not you choose to donate your organs is still yours to make. If you don’t want to donate, it’s really quick and simple to record your decision on the NHS Organ Donor Register.

You may have seen misleading messages claiming that the deadline for recording your organ donation decision is coming soon. In fact, there is no deadline. Although we move to an ‘opt out’ system for organ donation on 20th May 2020, you are free to register your decision whenever you like, before or after the change in law. It will always remain your choice!

If you request that your details are withdrawn from the register, the organ donation decision that you have made, whether that is to donate or not, will be removed from the NHS Organ Donation Register, along with your personal details. This will mean that there is no longer any recorded decision for you on the Register. If there is no recorded decision for you, it will be considered that you agree to donate your organs after death, unless you are in an excluded group.

What do I have to do?
  1. Record your organ donation decision on the NHS Organ Donor Register
  2. Tell your family and friends what you have decided

If you would like to speak to somebody about your choices, please call 0300 303 2094.

Download factsheet

Download ‘Easy Read’ document

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