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Steinmeier wants everyone asked organ donation question
Steinmeier with his wife Elke, to whom he donated a kidney last year. Photo: DPA

Steinmeier wants everyone asked organ donation question

Published: 17 Apr 2011 12:07 GMT+02:00
Updated: 17 Apr 2011 12:07 GMT+02:00

Frank-Walter Steinmeier, parliamentary group leader for the Social Democratic Party, wants the law changed so that every German is asked once in their lives whether they would be prepared to donate their organs after they die.

Steinmeier, who donated a kidney to wife last summer, told Sunday's edition of Super Illu magazine that the question of organ donation, "should be brought into a person's life, not forced on the relatives after their death."

The SPD politician pointed to a recent poll that said 75 percent of Germans would donate their organs, while only 15 percent had an organ donor's card to show it.

"We need to close that immense gap," Steinmeier said.

He said his proposed law should also decide who would be in charge of asking about the willingness to donate organs. "If it was the state health insurance companies, they could then take over all the information-gathering and disclosure duties and put the data on people's insurance chip-cards," he suggested.

He added that everyone would of course be given the chance to change their minds at any time.

Two Bundestag hearings have been planned on the issue in June, and Steinmeier hopes that a law proposal will be put to the parliament before the summer recess. "There could be a new law by the end of the year," he said.

DAPD/bk

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

13:19 April 17, 2011 by catjones
See the presentation on TED: Susan Lim: Transplant cells, not organs.
16:14 April 17, 2011 by Louis Prince
I think this is an excellent initiative, I would almost like to say, they should make organan donation compulsory for a citizen, with healthy organs. If someone has a problem with with organ donation, he/she is obviously not a good person.
20:53 April 17, 2011 by DrStrangelove
"Transplant cells, not organs": That is a nice vision but with the exception of bone marrow transplants is way premature.

Organs are more than bags filled with cells. The kidneys have a most amazing tissue structure that is intimately linked to their function. To try and grow a functioning kidney from cells in vitro or in vivo is a long way off.
08:27 April 18, 2011 by storymann
I can not concur about this being compulsory,but I do agree that more means should be available to the general public for organ donations.

Perhaps this could be accomplished during elections.
09:09 April 18, 2011 by catjones
@DrStrangelove

Re: see this other TED presentation.

http://blog.ted.com/2011/03/07/printing-a-human-kidney-anthony-atala-on-ted-com/
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