Consent for organ donation


Last updated 27 April 2020 - see all updates

1. Main facts and figures

  • in 2018/19, around two-thirds of the families of eligible organ donors gave consent to organ donation after the donor had died
  • the families of White donors were 1.7 times as likely to give consent (70.5%) compared with donors from all other ethnic groups combined (41.7%)
Things you need to know

Eligible donors are deceased patients aged 80 years and under in intensive care units and emergency departments.

If a patient is eligible for organ donation, their family (or a named representative) is asked for consent close to the time of the patient’s death. Families need to give consent even if the patient is on the NHS organ donor register.

Not all donors will go on to donate even if their families give consent.

In 2018/19, ethnicity was not known for 2.3% of eligible donors whose families were approached. The total for all ethnic groups combined (shown as ‘All’ in the table and chart) includes donors whose ethnicity was not known.

Download the data for previous years’ figures.

What the data measures

This data measures the number of eligible organ donors whose families consented to organ donation. This is shown as a percentage of all eligible organ donors whose families were asked for consent. The data is broken down by ethnicity.

The data is based on deaths over one year from 1 April 2018 to 31 March 2019.

The data covers the UK, including Scotland where consent is called ‘authorisation’.

The data does not include living organ donors.

The ethnic categories used in this data

Due to the small number of eligible organ donors, the data is broken down into the following 2 broad categories:

  • White – White ethnic groups (including White British and White ethnic minorities)
  • Other – all other ethnic minorities

2. By ethnicity

Number and percentage of eligible organ donors whose families agreed to their organs being donated, by ethnicity
Ethnicity Number approached Number who consented % consented
All 3,245 2,181 67.2
White 2,840 2,002 70.5
Other than White 331 138 41.7
Unknown 74 41 55.4

Download table data for ‘By ethnicity’ (CSV) Source data for ‘By ethnicity’ (CSV)

Summary of Consent for organ donation By ethnicity Summary

This data shows that:

  • in 2018/19, the families of 3,245 eligible organ donors were asked for consent for organ donation
  • 89.6% of donors were White (excluding those whose ethnicity wasn’t known)
  • 67.2% of families gave consent for organ donation in total
  • 70.5% of families of White donors gave consent for organ donation, compared with 41.7% of families of donors from all other ethnic groups combined
  • this means that consent was 1.7 times as likely to be given for White organ donors as for donors from Other ethnic groups
  • consent was given for 2,002 White donors, and 138 donors from all other ethnic groups combined

3. Methodology

The data presented here is a summary of statistics from the UK Transplant Registry (UKTR).

The UKTR collects this information from NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) and hospital staff.

NHSBT capture information about potential organ donors through the Potential Donor Audit (PDA), which includes all patient deaths in UK intensive care units and emergency departments.

It excludes:

  • deaths on wards
  • patients over 80 years old


Percentages are rounded to one decimal place.

Related publications

Annual Activity Report on Organ Donation and Transplantation data

4. Data sources


Type of data

Administrative data

Type of statistic

Official statistics


NHS Blood and Transplant

Publication frequency


Purpose of data source

The source of this data is the UK Transplant Registry (UKTR). The purpose of the data set is to match and allocate organs for transplantation.

5. Download the data

Organ donation - consent - Spreadsheet (csv) 1 KB

Measure, Ethnicity, Ethnicity_type, Time, Time_type, Geography, Value, Value_type, Numerator, Denominator