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Authorisation, altruism and compulsion in the organ donation debate
  1. Antonia J Cronin,
  2. John Harris
  1. MRC Centre for Transplantation, King's College London, London, UKNIHR Biomedical Research Centre, Guy's and St.Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust and King's College, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Antonia J Cronin, 5th Floor Tower Wing, Guy's Hospital, Great Maze Pond, London, SE1 9RT, UK; antonia.cronin{at}


The report from the Organ Donation Taskforce looking at the potential impact of an opt-out system for deceased donor organ donation in the UK, published in November 2008, is probably the most comprehensive and systematic inquiry to date into the issues and considerations which might affect the availability of deceased donor organs for clinical transplantation. By the end of a thorough and transparent process, a clear consensus was reached. The taskforce rejected the idea of an opt-out system.

In this article we acknowledge the life saving potential of organ transplants and seek to highlight the difficulties that arise when the issue of organ shortage competes with concerns over choice and authorisation in the context of deceased donor organ donation.

  • Deceased donor organ donation
  • transplantation
  • authorisation
  • donation/procurement of organs/tissues

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  • Funding Other Funders: Wellcome Trust.

  • Competing interests AJC was a member of the Organ Donation Taskforce Ethics Working Group.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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