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Increasing organ donation rates by revealing recipient details to families of potential donors
  1. David Shaw1,2,
  2. Dale Gardiner3
  1. 1 Institute for Biomedical Ethics, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland
  2. 2 CAPHRI Research Institute, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands
  3. 3 Nottingham University NHS Trust, Nottingham, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr David Shaw, Institute for Biomedical Ethics-Universität Basel, Bernoullistrasse 28, Basel, BASEL-STADT 4056, Switzerland;{at}


Many families refuse to consent to donation from their deceased relatives or over-rule the consent given before death by the patient, but giving families more information about the potential recipients of organs could reduce refusal rates. In this paper, we analyse arguments for and against doing so, and conclude that this strategy should be attempted. While it would be impractical and possibly unethical to give details of actual potential recipients, generic, realistic information about the people who could benefit from organs should be provided to families before they make a decision about donation or attempt to over-rule it.

  • donation/procurement of organs/tissues
  • vital organ donation
  • confidentiality/privacy
  • allocation of organs/tissues

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  • Contributors DS had the idea for the article and wrote the first draft with substantial input from DG. Both authors have revised the paper several times.

  • Competing interests DG is Deputy National Lead for Organ Donation for NHS Blood and Transplant. DS is a member of the Ethics Committee of the British Transplantation Society. Their views do not represent those of these organisations.

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