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  1. ITV Report

Faith groups debate changes to organ donation law in Wales

From 1st December, Wales will become the first country in the UK to introduce a new soft opt-out system for organ and tissue donation.

The new law will presume consent for people's organs and tissues to be donated unless they stipulate otherwise.

On top of this, the new law will mean a person's family and friends will have a significant role to play in the ultimate decision to donate an organ.

Credit: PA

However, the new law has not always been popular, with some faith groups having strong reservations about the change.

For the last three years, thousands of conversations have been taking place from all sides to understand the arguments.

The conversations have been very difficult at times, particularly at the beginning, because there's been a lot of confusion.

People didn't know what the legislation meant for them, there were all kinds of stories about organ banks being set up, people being harvested for their organs against their will, all kinds of myths were created by misinformation and lack of information.

So our job was not to go in and say this is a great piece of legislation, our job was to go in and say what the legislation was, what their rights are and explain what their choices were.

– Jon Luxton, Cognition Associates

The South Wales Islamic Centre says the changes to the organ donation law has been a major discussion point.

It says that organ donation is a choice between two important principles; the wholeness of the body versus saving someone's life.

One of the misunderstandings was that to be a donor...they're going to cut your body and take what they want and therefore, you wouldn't be whole.

...But when you look at it from the practical point of view, you're giving your parts that they're removing from you after your dead and it's going to help somebody else continue with life, and hopefully continue with a better life and you'll get rewards from that.

– Daoud Salaman, South Wales Islamic Centre

For some in the Christian church, the process of giving has caused the most concern about donation.

There's been a caricature of some of the churches around for a while that the churches were opposed to 'presumed consent' or 'deemed consent', but that was quite untrue.

We've always been entirely supportive of organ donation, but the idea of deeming the consent or presuming the consent took out of it an extremely important element which was the ability of people to make a conscious choice to sign up to donate their organs and that act of generosity is much more important than presumption.

– Rt Rev John Davies, Bishop of Swansea and Brecon

Watch Megan Boot's report:

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