It’s About Saving Lives: In Favour of an Opt-out Donation System (Speech)│ Xenios Matjilla

This article is the second of two addressing the debate of whether the UK should introduce an opt-out system for organ donation. The other article, against, by Jake Scott can be read here.

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Thank you Mr Speaker.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I have a confession to make; if this motion was being debated a year ago I may have been making a speech against.

I would have been spouting some of the arguments you’ll hear tonight, about how ‘an opt-out system is state control of our bodies’ and that it somehow ‘loses the charity and beauty of organ donation’.

My personal experience this past year has made me realise how wrong I was and how important a system of opt-out organ donation really is.

As many of you know, my father fell ill last year with kidney failure. He was placed on the extremely long Organ Transplant waiting list, joining 7000 other people waiting for an organ.

This would have meant him potentially being one of the 500 people that die every year on the waiting list, at the same time thousands of healthy organs are buried underground.

The chance of losing my Dad due to a shortage of organ donors was unbearable: I therefore offered to donate him one of my kidneys. In July this year we underwent an extremely successful kidney transplant, meaning my Dad is now living a healthy, active lifestyle and I’ve also recovered to be here drinking and debating with you all tonight.

Mr Speaker, people speaking against the motion will argue that we currently have the option to opt-in to be an organ donor, so surely there is no need for change because if people want to opt-in they will.

But there is one fact that sums up the failure of the opt-in system: 90% of the population say they would donate their organs after death, yet only 30% are currently registered organ donors – this has led to the failure of the opt-in system and thousands of preventable deaths.

An opt-out system will drastically increase the number of people on the Organ Donor register and therefore has the potential to save thousands of lives every year.

Under the new opt out system, those 90% of people will be registered organ donors and the other 10% are well within their rights to choose to opt out of organ donation – the state is not forcing anyone to donate organs unwillingly as speakers against the motion will propose tonight.

Due to the new opt-out system, there has been a huge increase in publicity of organ donation meaning that families are having conversations about what they wish to do with their organs upon their death.

This is crucial, as an average of three families a week decided not to allow organ donation because they did not know whether their relatives would have wanted to donate an organ or not.

When Theresa May announced this policy at conference I was a proud to call myself a Conservative.

We believe in family life and the introduction of opt out organ donation will prevent thousands of families from being torn apart. I urge you all to vote for this motion and vote to save lives.

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