Comment on the new law on organ transplantation in Wales

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On 1 December 2015 the Human Transplantation (Wales) Act 2013 comes into effect.

This law will in principle allow doctors to take organs from people who die in Wales even if they have never expressed any wish to donate and even if their families strongly object to this.

Professor David Albert Jones, Director of the Anscombe Bioethics Centre, has written a full comment on the subject of organ donation and transplantation in Wales.


We would urge all healthcare professionals in Wales to respect the families of those who have died and have not made any clear statement about organ donation, notwithstanding the powers given by the new and inhumane law.

In the words of Pope John Paul II:

“Above all, this form of treatment is inseparable from a human act of donation. In effect, transplantation presupposes a prior, explicit, free and conscious decision on the part of the donor or of someone who legitimately represents the donor, generally the closest relatives.”

Were this context not respected and were it to be replaced by a materialistic or instrumental use of the body, then the practice “would no longer correspond to an act of donation but would amount to the dispossession or plundering of a body”.

Anyone currently in living Wales, even if only temporarily (for example, as a student) may fall victim to such ‘dispossession’.

If you are living in Wales and have any hesitations about donating your organs after you die then it is possible to ‘opt out’.

This can be done through the website here:

It is possible to revise your opinion at any time and opting out now will not prevent you from joining the organ donation register later should you so decide.

You can always revise your record:

Full Comment and Ethics of Organ Donation

Download the full comment from Prof. David Albert Jones, Director, Anscombe Bioethics Centre. It’s below or to the right of this article.

Organ Donation in Wales

For guidance on some of the key ethical issues involved in organ transplantation see On the Ethics of Organ Transplantation: A Catholic Perspective:

Ethics of Organ Transplantation

Official website for the Anscombe Bioethics Centre