LIV calls for reforms to increase organ and tissue donation

LIV calls for reforms to increase organ and tissue donation


Laws around organ and tissue donation need urgent reform, including an “opt out” to encourage more donations in Victoria, according to the Law Institute of Victoria.

LIV President Stuart Webb has written to Attorney-General Jill Hennessy asking her to refer the Human Tissue Act 1982 to the Victorian Law Reform Commission.

Mr Webb said the Act regulates the removal of human tissue, the donation of organs and tissue before and after death, post-mortem examinations, the definition of death, registration of schools of anatomy and the prescription of tissue banks.

“The Act was ground breaking when it was introduced in 1982, but it is now out of date with changes to medical technology and treatment."

“We should also consider an “opt out” rather than “opt in” scheme for organ donation considering the growth in the need for transplants,” Mr Webb said.

He said the law also needed clarification about who has the final say in organ donation, and in what circumstances a person’s decision to become an organ donor can be overridden by relatives.

“We need to consider how the legislation can ensure a dying person’s wishes on organ donation are followed, despite the views of others. It is a difficult time for families to consider these issues when a transplant is proposed, and the law should support donors’ intentions,” he said.

Other issues include reviewing who should liaise with families when a loved one is eligible for donation; reviewing the current definition of death and how the Act can be redrafted to overcome the current low conversion rate of organ donations in Victoria.

Further information: LIV website

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