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42 Why should I discuss my wishes with my relatives?
So that they know what you would like to happen after your death and can confirm or help inform NHS staff what your wishes were. If you register your wishes without telling the people closest to you, it may come as a surprise at a time when they are trying to deal with their loss.
If you think you would find it difficult to raise the subject, you could try using this booklet or a TV or newspaper story about a transplant to start a discussion.
43 What will happen if my relatives object?
We know that in most cases families will agree to donation if they knew that was their loved one's wish. If the family, or those closest to the person who has died, object to the donation when the person who has died has given their explicit permission, either by telling relatives, close friends or clinical staff, or by carrying a donor card or registering their wishes on the NHS Organ Donor Register, healthcare professionals will discuss the matter sensitively with them. They will be encouraged to accept the dead person's wishes and it will be made clear that they do not have the legal right to veto or overrule those wishes. There may, nevertheless, be cases where it would be inappropriate for donation to go ahead.
44 What if I have no family or other relatives?
You can join the NHS Organ Donor Register but to fulfil your donation wishes, healthcare professionals will need to speak to someone else at the time of your death who can advise on your medical and social history. This may be your GP but it is advisable also to tell the person closest to you in life, a friend of longstanding or a close colleague, about your decision.
45 What is a qualifying relationship?
Where the wishes of a person who has died are not known, the Human Tissue Acts rank people who had a relationship with them. This enables specialist healthcare professionals seeking permission for donation to know who they should approach and in what order. This ranges from a spouse or partner (including civil or same sex partner); parent or child; brother or sister and other relatives to a friend of long standing.
46 Should I put my wishes in my will?
No. By the time your will is read it is likely to be far too late for you to become a donor because organs and tissue need to be removed within 48 hours of death. This is why it is so important to let those closest to you know your wishes and to record them on the NHS Organ Donor Register.
47 Can I change my mind?
Yes. You can simply go to the How to become a donor/Sign me up section of our website and fill in the form asking for your name to be removed.
If you prefer, you can write to the NHS Organ Donor Register, UK Transplant, FREEPOST (SWB1474), Patchway, Bristol, BS34 8ZZ.
If you have an organ donor card, tear it up. Let your family know that you have changed your mind.
Send an e-card
Once you’ve joined the register send one of our campaign e-cards to your family and friends to let them know!
Click here to send an e-card
Black and Asian Communities
Why tell a loved one?
In Wales, like the rest of the UK, most organ donations come from heartbeating donors.
Click here to find out more.