Crucial papers to include organ donation will

Crucial papers to include organ donation will
Steinmeier and his wife Elke - a successful live donor story. Photo: DPA
Germany's top politicians want driving licenses and passports to include a person's declaration on whether they want to donate their organs after they die in a bid to boost donor numbers.

Frank-Walter Steinmeier, head of the Social Democratic Party parliamentary party, called his counterparts from the other parties to a meeting on Thursday evening to discuss how to best do this, according to a report in the Bild newspaper on Saturday.

Steinmeier hit the headlines and raised awareness of organ donation last year when he gave one of his kidneys to his wife Elke who was gravely ill.

Now he and the other party leaders are talking about introducing a system whereby people would be asked to make a decision on whether they wanted to sign up for posthumous organ donation whenever they got a driving license or passport.

Their decision would be noted in that document, although it could be changed at any time, according to the proposal being discussed.

“I am confident that this can progress quickly. We are largely agreed on the aim. If the details can be clarified quickly, we can get it done this year,” Steinmeier told Bild.

The current system requires people to actively seek out a donation card and fill it out. There are currently around 12,000 people in Germany waiting for organ donations, the paper said.

Polls regularly show that more than two thirds of the population welcome the idea of organ donation, but only between 14 and 25 percent of people carry a donor card.

The German Organ Transplantation Foundation (DSO) says the number is increasing, with nearly 1,300 people giving organs posthumously last year – up 6.5 percent on the previous year.

DSO head Thomas Beck said the time was right socially and politically to change the system.


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