JOURNAL ARTICLE

The default option: Why a system of presumed consent may be effective at increasing rates of organ donation

Matthew Rockloff, Christine Hanley
Psychology, Health & Medicine 2014, 19 (5): 580-5
24083828
In Australia, general sentiment towards organ donation is somewhat positive, but actual donation rates languish amongst the poorest in the western world. Even for registered organ donors, the Australian system mandates obtaining family consent for posthumous donation; making non-donation the default option. A telephone survey in Central Queensland, Australia (n=1289), investigated people's confidence regarding their decision on whether to donate organs of a deceased family member; whether or not they had discussed donation with their family; and their support for an opt-out (presumed consent) system of donation. In accord with our expectations, each of these factors independently predicted the wishes of respondents to donate their own organs. The results suggest that promoting organ donation as the default option may improve rates of public acceptance for organ donations and consequently save lives.

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