What you need to know about the new organ donation registry

The issue of organ donation is a dilemma in. Thousands of people are waiting for a donor organ, but only very few consciously decide to donate in the event of death during their lifetime. Is even one of the worst performers in Europe when it comes to donor numbers. However, that could change in the future: From Monday, March 18th, the central organ donation register will go online nationwide.

What is the Organ Donation Registry?

Officially it is called the Register for Declarations on Organ and Tissue Donation. This is an electronic online directory in which people can officially register their decision for or against organ or tissue donation. The register is maintained by the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices and can be accessed at organspende-register.de.

What are the benefits of an organ donation registry?

In an emergency, collection hospitals can view the decision for or against in the register. The advantage: An organ donor card can be lost, but the register is always available. An organ donation register “makes sense because it makes finding the documented decision much easier,” says the managing senior physician and transplant officer at the Schleswig-Holstein University Hospital, Felix Braun.

Experts also hope that this simplification will encourage more people to potentially consider organ donation. However, it won’t be a sure-fire success. “It is very unlikely that the explainer portal will be used very frequently in the first years of the register if general information, advice in individual cases on organ donation and assistance with entry in the register are not provided at the same time,” says Frank Logemann, transplant officer at the medical school Hanover.

Will the organ donation register change anything in the consent solution?

No, the consent solution for organ donations still applies in. This means that people must officially decide during their lifetime whether they agree to organ donation in the event of death. No organs or tissue may be removed without consent.

However, the introduction of the so-called objection solution is still being discussed: According to this principle, people must explicitly object to organ donation. Otherwise, organs and tissue may be removed in the event of death. The Bundestag voted against it in 2020, but the trend in Europe is towards contradiction resolution.

It is used in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, among others. In the Netherlands, people are even required to register in the local register and record their decision.

What happens if I don’t register on the organ donation register?

Since the consent solution still applies in, nothing changes for people who do not record their decision in the register. Entry in the organ donation register is voluntary. If they have not officially registered their consent in another way – for example in an organ donor card or in a living will – their organs cannot be removed in an emergency. Any consent already given elsewhere remains valid.

Who can register in the organ donation register?

Anyone who would like to be included in the register must be at least 16 years old and have a ID card. Both and EU citizens as well as people with an electronic residence permit are eligible. Entry in the organ donation register is free of charge.

How can I record my decision for or against organ donation in the register?

The so-called explainer portal will go online from March 18th. People in can then record their decision to donate organs in the online register. Citizens must identify themselves using their ID. This is the online identification function of the ID card: personal identification data is stored on a chip that is integrated into the ID card. You can read how the ID works here. From July 1st and until September 30th at the latest, access to the register will be gradually made available via your health insurance company’s app.


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