Organ donation in the United Kingdom (UK) - Statistics & Facts

Organ donation is the act of donating organs to another individual either whilst living or after death. Until recently, the organ donation system in the United Kingdom was voluntary, meaning consent was not presumed. The proportion of the population ‘opting-in’ to the organ donation register has gradually increased, to 35 percent of the UK population in the period 2015/16.

In December 2015, the Welsh government instated an ‘opt-out’ organ donation scheme meaning donation is presumed. The number of individuals on the organ donation register in the UK has already increased since this implementation to 22.5 million individuals as of March 2016. In the UK, individuals must indicate whether they want to be on the organ donation register when applying for a driver’s license, in effect this source of registration accounts for 50 percent of all organ donation registrations.

The number of organ transplantations have significantly increased over recent years to 3.5 thousand in 2015/16. However, in the same period there were significantly less organ donors. There are approximately 7.2 thousand potential donors on the register, of which only 5.6 thousand are considered to be eligible donors. The average number of organs retrieved per adult donor amounts to 3.4 organs across the UK. In contrast, a paediatric donor can donate up to 5.7 organs.

Kidneys top the list as the most transplanted organ at approximately 49 kidneys transplanted per million population. As it stands, there are over nine thousand patients active on the kidney donation waiting list. Despite the growing number of registrants on the organ transplant register, around 10.7 percent are not prepared to donate their corneas.

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Organ donation in the United Kingdom - Important statistics

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