Six months on since Wales introduced its new opt-out organ donation system and dozens of lives have already been saved, it has been revealed.
Figures show that of the 31 people who donated their organs during this period, 10 had their consent deemed because they had not registered a decision to either opt in or opt out of becoming an organ donor.
The new system, which came into force on December 1 last year, allows those who wish to become an organ donor to either register a decision to opt in or do nothing, which automatically grants their consent.
This applies to adults who have lived in Wales for more than 12 months and who also die in Wales.
During the initial six month period 60 organs have been transplanted, 32 of which were from people whose consent had been deemed.
This shows an increase from the 23 people who donated their organs in the same period the previous year and 21 people in the same period in 2013 to 2014.
Shortly after the system was introduced in Wales, Anna-Louise Bates faced making the decision of whether to donate her seven-year-old son’s organs.
Anna-Louise’s son Fraser and husband Stuart died in a road accident in December 2015.
Anna-Louise, from Llanishen in Cardiff, decided to donate Fraser’s organs. This meant his heart was donated to a baby, his lungs to a child, and his liver and a kidneys to another child while another kidney went to help someone awaiting a transplant.
Anna-Louise said: “The comfort I have had from being able to donate Fraser’s organs has really helped us to deal with this tragedy.”
Her husband, Stuart, 43, had previously told her he agreed with organ donation.
“When I was in the hospital with Fraser and they asked me the question, I didn’t even have to think about it,” she said.
“Fraser had the biggest heart and I knew what he would have wanted me to do, especially not having Stuart there to have the discussion with.”
For the family of 18-year-old Conner Marshall, from Barry, who was murdered following an unprovoked attack in March 2015, they also decided to donate his organs after Conner had become a registered donor at 16 and had a tatto on his arm reading “life goes on”.
Conner’s mum, Nadine Marshall, said: “There was no way of saving Conner, but Conner has been able to save other people’s lives through organ donation.
“I’m all for the new organ donation system, I think it opens up those questions around organ donation that perhaps people might not otherwise talk about.
“Even though Conner was only 16, he made that decision to be an organ donor and luckily we had talked about it.
“I think it’s really important young people are listened to and given the opportunity to talk about it at school and college.
“It’s not long before they’ll be adults. It’s also important people talk to their loved ones about it so families are aware of their decision, should they find themselves in that incredibly difficult situation.
“Who knows what we would have done if Conner wasn’t on the register and we weren’t aware of how strongly he felt about being an organ donor”.
The release of the figures come ahead of a new campaign due to begin in the summer aimed at getting more young people to talk about their organ donation decision with their loved ones and to remind people of their options under the new system.
In the Senedd later today, Cabinet Secretary for Health, Well-being and Sport, Vaughan Gething AM, will talk of his pride at Wales leading the way by being the first nation in the UK to move to a soft opt-out system of consent.
He will say: “I fully expect that the new system will create a step change in consent for organ donation in Wales. The early indications are that this certainly is the case.
“This law was introduced to address the chronic shortage of organs for transplant which we face in Wales. I am sure we have all heard heartbreaking stories about those on organ waiting lists.”