The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Have a heart? Wales does


That is the total number of people, according to the BBC, who donated organs and tissues to those who were in need in Wales last year.

The number of people in Wales on the current organ-donation waiting list is 300.

A bill proposed by the Welsh government intends to address this issue.

According to the bill, available to the public via the BBC website, a “person is deemed to have given his or her consent in relation to the activity (organ donation)” with few exceptions listed.

This means that, unless a person explicitly states that they do not want to be an organ donor, or has delegated someone close to them to decide on their behalf, they are considered by law to be a viable and consenting donor.

“People will be given the chance either to opt in formally and agree to become a donor when they become adults at 18 or opt out by placing their name on a register,” reports the Guardian. “However, those over the age of 18 who do neither will be deemed to have made a positive decision to donate organs and tissue for transplantation.”

The Welsh government and supporters of the bill predict that it will “increase organs available for donation by as much as a quarter,” according to the BBC.

Meanwhile, a number of groups, particularly Welsh religious organizations, oppose the bill. Bishops of the Church in Wales, though not opposed to organ donation, consider it a gift that should be “freely given, not assumed.”

When BBC took an opinion poll, they found that 63 percent of those surveyed were in favor of the bill and only 31 percent were against.

This change in the organ donation law in Wales raises questions about the U.S.’s own statistics in respect to organ donation. The current system in the U.S. assumes that persons do not want to donate organs unless they specifically state it or formally register.

The United Network for Organ Sharing reports that the total number of candidates on the donation waiting list is 115,880 while the number of transplants that took place between January and June 2012 was a mere 13,963.

According to Carolina Donor Services, a North Carolina–based organ donor resource, the number of those waiting in North Carolina as of Sept. 25 is 3,558.

“Every 10 minutes a new name is added to the waiting list,” the CDS site reports. “Sadly, an average of 18 people die each day while waiting for a transplant.”

Helen Rice, director of student health at Guilford, feels the main issue with U.S. organ donation numbers is the need for education.

“I think more organ donor education is needed at a younger age so people will understand the how, when and why it takes place,” Rice said in an email interview.

Legislators hope that the Welsh law will go into effect sometime in 2015. Perhaps then the numbers released from Wales will cause other countries, including the U.S., to reconsider their own organ donor laws.

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