Life – Education

Max and Keira’s law: an overview on the advantages, disadvantages and alternatives to an opt-out organ donation system in the UK




Despite definite implementation of the law, there have been concerns over the presumed consent given for retrieving organs from the deceased; ignorance and lethargy from certain members of the public may mean that true informed consent can never be obtained when collecting organs. To combat this, expensive national campaigns would need to be launched to make the public aware of the new process, as well as educating them on how to opt out of the process if necessary. Regardless of these challenges, there are many advantages to the new law. Advantages include an increase in successful organ donations and transplant, as well as potentially an increased availability of organs for use in medical research, drug development and university teaching.


To increase the number of organ donors in England, the government will implement Max and Keira’s Law: all adults over the age of 18 living in the United Kingdom become potential organ donors after their death, unless they choose to opt out. The law will be employed by spring 2020. Despite there being presumed consent for the retrieval of organs, families of the deceased will still be contacted to recheck consent, and ensure that family wishes are upheld.

Take Home Messages:

Based on the advantages, the move to the opt-out system appears to be a sensible method to increase the number of organs available for use in medicine. Proposed alternatives such as xenotransplantation and 3D bioprinting have the obvious benefit of providing an almost infinite supply of organs. However, these alternatives remain in the preclinical stages, with ethical challenges and infection risks that need to be overcome before they can be used in hospitals.


Organ donationConsentOpt-OutEthicsLegislationTransplants
  • Year: 2020
  • Volume: 4 Issue: 1
  • Page/Article: 26-31
  • DOI: 10.18573/bsdj.109
  • Published on 31 Jan 2020
  • Peer Reviewed