[Public attitudes towards presumed consent in organ donation in Iceland]

Karen Runarsdottir, Kjartan Olafsson, Arsaell Arnarsson
Læknablađiđ 2014, 100 (10): 521-5

INTRODUCTION: Organ transplant is often the only viable treatment for patients with end-stage organ failure. Until now, Icelandic legislation has required informed consent for organ donors, but a new parliamentary bill has been put forth to change the laws to presumed consent. The goal of this study was to investigate the attitude of the Icelandic population towards legislative changes to presumed consent.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Descriptive cross-sectional study using a questionnaire. The study population included all Icelanders, 18 years and older. The sample involved 1400 persons randomly selected from a Capacent Gallup mailing-list. The response rate was 63% or 880 answers.

RESULTS: The majority of Icelanders are in favour of the proposed legislative change (more than 80%). Women were more likely to support presumed consent than men, 85% versus 76% respectively. Younger participants were more likely to be positive towards the new law, but no significant difference was found in attitude by family income, demographics or education. Persons who knew someone close to them that had received a transplanted organ were 50% more likely to be in complete agreement with the proposed legislation. Only 5% of participants were currently registered organ donors - 29 women and 15 men.

CONCLUSION: Icelanders are very positive towards changing the law to include presumed consent in organ donation. Women and younger people tended to be more in favour and similarly those who know someone that has received donated organs. A majority of responders are willing to donate their organs, but very few are registered as donors.

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