Across the globe, the issue of supply and demand for human organs for transplantation has always been a concern. Organ banks worldwide are unable to meet the increasing needs of patients for organ transplants. To those suffering and dying while on waiting lists, the thought of receiving transplantation is a medical miracle itself. Remarkably, Spain held the world’s highest number of organ donors per million people for 26 years.
This is due to their opt-out law that was enacted in 1979. The legislation states that citizens of Spain will be presumed to have consented to donate their organs in the event of their death – even if they have never registered as a donor. Those who would rather not donate can register their decision to opt-out. The legislation is also not strictly enforced since families are always consulted and have the final say. In 2017, 2,183 people in Spain became organ donors and made 5,260 transplant surgeries possible. This meant that Spain had 46.9 donors per million people in the population (pmp), and the number increased to 48 organ donors in 2018.
Croatia came in second with 41.2 organ donors followed by the United States with 33.3 organ donors. With such high numbers, several countries are looking to follow suit in hopes to overcome the lack of human organs for transplants. England is one of the countries seeking to change the law on consent beginning in 2020, depending on the approval of a panel.