Human Tissue Authority

The regulator for human tissue and organs

HTA comments on families saying no to deceased organ donation

Issue date: 
15 January 2016

NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) today released figures that highlight the number of families who have said no to a relative donating organs after death, even when their relative had recorded their wish on the Organ Donor Register

To reduce this number, NHSBT is looking at providing families with an HTA leaflet that explains how consent to donate organs is managed under the law. The HTA welcomes this. 

The law says that the decision about whether or not to donate your organs rests first and foremost with you. However, sometimes, for a variety of reasons donation is not possible. While your family has no legal right to override your decision, in practice their support is always sought.

Allan Marriot-Smith, HTA Chief Executive said: “We understand that families can find it hard to give the go ahead for organ donation at such a distressing time. If you are considering organ donation, the best way to make your  decision known is to join the Organ Donation Register, and talk to your family about your decision. It is far more likely that your family will agree to donate your organs if they understand it is what you would have wanted”.


  1. The HTA is a statutory regulator that ensures that when human tissue and organs are used, they are used safely and ethically, with proper consent.  Appropriate and valid consent needs to be in place when organs and tissue are donated from deceased and living people for transplantation. This means that when donation goes ahead, it is done properly.
  2. Read the HTA’s leaflet on consent and organ donation in England and Northern Ireland and the HTA’s leaflet on consent and organ donation in Wales
  3. Read the NHSBT press release


News type: 
Last updated on: 25 Feb 2016