Honors College Thesis

Why the U.S. Should Change to an Opt-Out System for Human Organ Donation

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  • In the U.S., the number of people waiting for an organ donation is increasing exponentially while the number of registered donors is slowly rising. This discrepancy leads to a great number of people dying while waiting for an organ donor. The opt-in system, lack of education around donation, and having to use personal time to register are just a few of the factors that prevent people from registering as organ donors. Some alternatives to the opt-in system have been suggested, but only one, the opt-out system, has been deemed ethically acceptable and possible based on the values of the U.S. Other countries have instated the opt-out system, being automatically registered as an organ donor, and have greatly improved their number of donor registrants. However, switching to the opt-out system in the U.S. would be difficult without education to supplement the change. Education within schools, doctors’ offices, and online resources can inform the public of organ donation at the same time legislation is being passed for an opt-out system. This greatly needed change in the U.S. is for the purpose of decreasing the gap between a shortage in supply and a high demand and to ultimately save peoples’ lives. Key Words: Opt-in System, Opt-out System, Education, Organ Donor, Registered Donor
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