An Ethical Defense of a Mandated Choice Consent Procedure for Deceased Organ Donation

An Ethical Defense of a Mandated Choice Consent Procedure for Deceased Organ Donation
Original Paper
Xavier Symons, Billy Poulden
Asian Bioethics Review, 29 April 2022
Open Access
Organ transplant shortages are ubiquitous in healthcare systems around the world. In response, several commentators have argued for the adoption of an opt-out policy for organ transplantation, whereby individuals would by default be registered as organ donors unless they informed authorities of their desire to opt-out. This may potentially lead to an increase in donation rates. An opt-out system, however, presumes consent even when it is evident that a significant minority are resistant to organ donation. In this article, we defend a mandated choice framework for consent to deceased organ donation. A mandated choice framework, coupled with good public education, would likely increase donation rates. More importantly, however, a mandated choice framework would respect the autonomous preferences of people who do not wish to donate. We focus in particular on the Australian healthcare context, and consider how a mandated choice system could function as an ethical means to increase the organ donation rate in Australia. We make the novel proposal that all individuals who vote at an Australian federal election be required to state their organ donation preferences when voting.

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