First opt-out organ donation scheme in UK set to be approved in Wales
The first organ donation scheme in the UK that puts the onus on citizens to opt out if they do not wish to take part is set to be given the go-ahead on Tuesday.
Welsh assembly members are to vote on under which adults will be deemed to have consented to their organs and tissue being used if they have not stipulated otherwise.
The believes the law will increase the number of organs available, save dozens of lives every year and, if successful, could be copied in other parts of the UK.
Opponents claim the move gives the state too much control over people's bodies, could cause extra distress for bereaved families and puts medical staff in a difficult position.
Concerns have been raised that the infrastructure may not be in place to make use of more organs and some even suggest that adverse publicity about the scheme could lead to a backlash and a drop in the number available.
Under the so-called "soft opt-out system", adults who live and die in will be able to register a wish to be a donor or opt out. If they have done neither they will be deemed to have given their consent.
Families will not have a veto in law, but they will be given the chance to show that the deceased person would not have wished to donate their organs.
, the Welsh health minister, said: "We have the enduring problem of not having enough organs for people who need them. About one person every week dies in Wales while on a waiting list. We have been working to improve the rate of organ donation and have had some success, but we're looking to take the next step forward.
"Around a third of the Welsh population is on the organ donor register, but well over two-thirds in say they are happy to be organ donors. That other third is people who don't get round to putting their names down. We're hoping to make inroads into that."
Drakeford said if the bill was passed it would be the most significant law since the assembly was given full law-making powers two years ago and, if it worked, there could be a "domino effect" in other parts of the UK.
He accepted the role of families in the process was controversial and that some had problems with the scheme. Members of the Muslim Council of Wales and the South Wales . "We know people from minority ethnic communities need donors more often and yet their levels of donation are amongst the lowest," Drakeford said. "We're very keen to work actively with them to allay any fears."
, led criticism of the Human Transplantation (Wales) bill, telling the Guardian that giving organs was a "great act of love", but that he opposed the system that is expected to become law. "Donation ought to be a gift of love, of generosity. If organs can be taken unless someone has explicitly registered an objection, that's not an expression of love. It's more a medical use of a body," he said.
Surgeons have privately expressed concern at the idea of taking organs when the deceased person's family is opposed.
Morgan added: "In cases where someone has not opted out or in, I think the relatives ought to have some say. I think that's where most of the transplantation surgeons are.
"Whatever the legislation says, transplant surgeons said we would not remove those organs if the families were vociferously against because we have a duty of care to those relatives as well as to the patient."
The archbishop said he expected the bill to be passed and he would be encouraging people to opt in. He said he thought many Welsh people were unsure what was on the table. "I don't think that most people realise what the government is doing. There has been so much confusion with different minsters saying different things at different times."
The plan is to bring the law into effect in 2015 after an information campaign and discussions with medical practitioners.
Emma Harrison, whose five-year-old son Oliver is waiting for a heart transplant, backed the plans. "There are not enough hearts, which is incredibly scary. I'm just waiting for the call to say there is a heart for my Ollie. Most people would accept an organ if we needed it. Hopefully we should all be willing to give one too," she said.
"My Ollie is an amazing, lovely funny guy, he knows he has a poorly heart. We just want him to be able to run up the stairs like his little brother, play football, have a chance of a good life."