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Use Human Organs Before Pigs

***MEDIA RELEASE***
21 October 2008
GiveLife NZ

Use Human Organs Before Pigs

Organ donor reform campaigner Andy Tookey of GiveLife has welcomed the go ahead of pig cell transplantation as announced by the Minister of Health today.

However, he is concerned that the Minister is jumping the gun so that doctors can 'play with their new toys' before exhausting other avenues of increasing the organ donor rate.

'I am all for any way we can reduce the number of lives lost by supplementing our current system of organ donation, but the Minister seems to have abandoned the current organ donor system and has left it languishing as one of the world's worst. Not only has he abandoned it he has introduced legislation that will almost certainly lower our already poor organ donor rate.' Says Mr. Tookey.

Presently more than half of useable organs are wasted each year due to family objection and an inadequate system.

'Only around 20% of the public have 'donor' on their licence, but you can bet that 99% of the public would say 'yes' to receiving an organ if they or a family member needed one to survive.'

'The Minister should be looking at new ways to increase our current potential donor pool before leaping into the unknown territory of xenotransplantation.'


One way to make a big dent in the organ donor shortage is to reward people who are prepared to be donors by giving them priority over those who refuse to be donors should both need a transplant. Most people in New Zealand would instantly sign up as a donor if it gave them the knowledge that they would be higher on the list should they ever need an organ.

LifeSharers NZ aims to do just that. (www.lifesharers.org.nz) Members direct that should they die in circumstances that allow their organs to be used, that those organs should be offered first to other LifeSharers members first.

'Why should those who refuse to be donors jump the list ahead of registered organ donors when they find out they need one?' asks Tookey.

'It's like awarding the Lotto Jackpot to someone who didn't buy a ticket.'

ENDS


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