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Organ Donation in the Netherlands & Expats’ Homelands17 March 2014, by IamExpat Spotter
In the Netherlands, everyone over 18 is requested to register in the Donorregister, where people can specify whether or not they wish to become an organ or tissue donor upon their death.
Organ donation in other countries
But how exactly are things regulated in the homelands of the largest groups of expats living in the Netherlands: Great Britain, the USA and Germany?
› Organ donation in Great Britain
In Britain, the only organs used are those from donors who have recorded their donation wishes prior to passing away. Individuals can specify this in a number of ways:
- by telling a friend or a family member
- by carrying an "Organ Donor Card"
- by registering at NHS, the Organ Donor Register
Registration makes it easy for the NHS to carry out a person’s final wish and encourage the family and friends to respect it. If someone dies without his or her wishes known, his or her family will be asked to give consent. That is why it is important to discuss your wishes with your family and those close to you.
› Organ donation in the USA
In the United States, people above 18 years old can register themselves as organ donors in the Donor Registry of the state in which they reside (minors require permission from a parent or guardian).
In most cases, the registration takes place when a person obtains his or her driver’s license, or when the license requires an extension. The individual will be automatically asked whether they wish to become an organ donor, which will then be recorded on the license.
Most people who would like to become a donor share their intention with their family and friends, so that these loved ones can later confirm the choice when necessary.
› Organ donation in Germany
In Germany, people must reveal their decision via a donor card that they carry around with them. Since 2012, Germans will receive a call from their insurance company with a request to fill the donor card. If someone whose intention is unknown dies, his or her family will be asked to give consent.
Thus, Germany, unlike the Netherlands, does not have a central registration database where people can register. However, like the Netherlands, family and friends may be questioned regarding the wishes of the deceased.
Surveys indicate that roughly 20 to 25 per cent of Germans have a donor card, and the majority have indicated that they wish to become a donor.
Would you like to know more about the rule and regulation in Germany? Click here to watch the interview with Dr. Detlef Bosebeck, director of the German Transplant Foundation.
Shortage of donors
Just as in the Netherlands, there is also an epidemic shortage of organ donors in Britain, the United States and Germany. In the United States, an average of 18 people die daily while awaiting an organ transplant.
At the moment, more than 100 million Americans are registered as organ donors (31,5 per cent of the total population), which is similar to Britain, where, in 2013, a third of the total population (32 per cent) was registered as organ donor.
Organ donation in the Netherlands
The situation differs in the Netherlands: here you should record your wishes in the Donorregister to indicate whether or not you would like to become an organ donor.
Even if you have already registered in your homeland, you need to register again in the Netherlands.
If someone dies while his/her intention is unclear, his/her family will be asked to give consent.
You can record your wishes at Donorregister!