Speak to your loved ones about organ donation, says Catholic Church

The Catholic Church is encouraging people to have conversations with their loved ones about organ donation after death.

The Church is backing the NHS's new campaign, 'Leave Them Certain', which asks people to talk with family members about their organ donation decisions. 

The launch of the campaign follows the introduction of the opt-out system in England last year. In the past, people had to sign up to be organ donors but under the new system, registration is automatic and people must instead opt out if they do not give their consent. 

The Catechism of the Catholic Church calls organ donation "a noble and meritorious act" that "is to be encouraged as an expression of generous solidarity". 

But the Church's position is that no one should be compelled to donate their organs. 

Bishop Paul Mason, the Church's lead bishop for healthcare, said it was important for people to have conversations so that their wishes are clear. 

"I welcome the 'Leave Them Certain' initiative as a step in the right direction of ensuring that families are always included in the end-of-life care and decisions of their loved ones," he said. 

"The death of a relative or loved one is one of the hardest and most human challenges we face but having these conversations before that time can help us to feel more at peace knowing that we are carrying out the wishes of those whom we will forever hold in our hearts."

He continued: "It might seem a bit scary at first, but instigating these conversations ultimately gives us all more confidence to be able to speak openly about our wishes at the end of life.

"This will give our family and friends the certainty of knowing that even if we are unable to express these wishes in our time of dying, they will know that they are doing what we wanted.

"So, let's start to talk more openly about organ donation and leave them certain."

NHS Blood and Transplant said: "The law change has been a pivotal moment for organ donation in England and awareness amongst the public is now at 75%.

"Following the change in the law, there is still a need for everyone in England to make their decision clear and talk to their loved ones about organ donation.

"Understanding the motivations for this conversation has been central to our new campaign – Leave Them Certain."