Organ donation review will look at cultural barriers

Stuff | Stacy Kirk

A national review of deceased organ donation procedures will look at whether cultural and religious factors are contributing to New Zealand's low rates of organ donation.

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman has released the terms of reference for the review, which will only look at deceased organ donation, because a number of initiatives were already underway to improve donation from living donors.

"Although overall donation rates have increased in recent years, New Zealand still has relatively low rates compared with other countries," he said.

"Our donation rate is around 10 per million people compared with 16 per million people in Australia. Spain has the highest rate at 36 per million people.

"In New Zealand there were 46 deceased organ donations carried out last year, up from 36 in 2013."

Among the topics the review would likely consider was "ethical, cultural, religious, and demographic factors within the New Zealand context".

Organs that are able to be donated are rare, with potential donors having to have died in specific circumstances. Continue reading