Organ or Body Donation
Organ and body donation are governed by the Human Tissue Gift Act and Regulation. You can view legislation at bclaws.ca
If you want to record your wishes about organ (and tissue) donation, the only legal way to give or refuse consent in advance is to complete a specific form and register it online or by mail to BC Transplant (funded by the Ministry of Health). Find information at transplant.bc.ca
Parents can register minor children; adult must be capable of consent to register their own wishes.
The BC Transplant registration lets health care providers find your wishes when the time comes and show a copy to your family. They do not help inform your family/friends about your wishes in advance. It can be a shock if people were not prepared or forgot. See below for information about registering a copy of your consent form and/or your wishes.
The law in BC says that a donor’s valid consent is final and can be acted on. However, if someone believes the donor changed their mind, then the donation is cancelled – unless the consent is contained in the donor’s valid Will. Unfortunately, the Will is not generally looked at until much later. But you can register and share a copy of your Will with the Personal Planning Registry so information is available when needed.
The law says that a hospital, licensed hospital or community care facility (including a hospice) must immediately notify the BC Transplant Society upon the death or impending death of a patient 75 years or younger. The Transplant Society must determine and notify the agency if the patient’s health or other condition makes them unsuitable for donation.
If you want to donate your body or specific parts for therapeutic purposes, medical education or scientific research, you cannot also be an organ donor. You must do one or the other.
You must complete a written consent for body donation. You might also want to include this in your Will to ensure it cannot be overridden if someone says you may have changed your mind.
The UBC Department of Medicine has a Body Donation Program and you can learn more about it and download consent forms – www.cps.med.ubc.ca/bodyprogram
The Body Donation Program does not inform your family/friends in advance about your wishes. See below for information about registering a copy of your consent form.
Make your organ/body donation wishes known
You can register wishes about Organ or Body Donation with the Personal Planning Registry.
Don’t let your spouse, family or friends be surprised when the time comes. They will have many thoughts and feelings at this time. It will be a comfort for them to know in advance what you have done so they can help carry out your wishes.
You can let them know by registering a copy of your plans and using the share feature make your information and/or document viewable. You can share the information now and it will remain accessible years later. This will avoid delay and confusion at end-of-life.
You can register a copy of your consent form under ‘Other Documents.’ You can list information about your wishes for donation when you register a Personal Information Record. Be sure to share your registrations.