German MPs present plan for opt-out organ donation model

German MPs present plan for opt-out organ donation model

A cross-party group of MPs in the Bundestag have presented a plan for Germany to adopt an opt-out organ donation system to reduce waiting times and shortages.

German MPs present opt-out organ donation plan

A group of nine MPs from the SPD, CDU / CSU, Greens, FDP and Left parties in the German parliament have presented a plan for the country to introduce an opt-out organ donation system.

Currently, people living in Germany have to consent as potential organ donors by registering. Under the new system, also known as “presumed consent”, everyone living in Germany would be automatically added to the register and would have to opt out in order to have their name removed.

A 2023 study by the Leibniz Institute of Economic Research at the University of Munich found that while introducing opt-out methods is not a single solution to organ donation waiting list delays, it “effectively contributes to it considerably”. There are currently 8.400 people in Germany currently waiting to receive an organ transplant.

19 of the 27 EU member states, including Austria, Sweden and Spain, already have an opt-out organ donation system.

Bundestag rejected the opt-out policy in 2020

In 2020, 379 German MPs voted against and 292 in favour of introducing an opt-out model. While the proposal was rejected, alternative solutions were adopted to increase the number of organ donors, including regularly reminding people to register and making online registrations possible.

The latter policy was delayed by coronavirus but eventually introduced in March 2024, and Germany saw nearly 100.000 new organ donors sign up within a month of online registration becoming possible.

Thumb image credit: nitpicker /

Olivia Logan


Olivia Logan

Editor for Germany at IamExpat Media. Olivia first came to Germany in 2013 to work as an Au Pair. Since studying English Literature and German in Scotland, Freiburg and Berlin...

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