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Consent by tattoo for organ donation

Detail from 2023 launch of OPT-INK
Detail from 2023 launch of OPT-INK

It's perhaps not an area we'd immediately associate with consent, but varying national laws can lead to confusion and distress when it comes to organ donation, which remains a contentious and emotionally charged issue.

This recent initiative out of Germany provides a free tattoo for those wishing to be organ donors.

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As well as attracting attention and sparking conversation / awareness, the inking makes the wearer's wishes visible in situations where a relative's authorisation might otherwise be necessary. 

According to its creators, Germany has one of the lowest organ donor rates in Europe, at 0.001%, and has no national register. 

Some countries have an 'opt-out' system, whereby people's organs can be donated unless they have officially opted out; others such as Germany operate under the 'opt-in' system, in which people need to sign up / register / make their wishes formally known in order to donate organs.

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The OPT-INK scheme, which turns a tattoo into a wearable consent form, was launched at a major tattoo festival and instantly generated long queues.

All it takes to opt-in to the explicit consent system is to carry proof of consent, whatever its form.

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The actual design was created by a Berlin-based artist, Gara, and is designed to be easily recognised and re-created by a broad range of tattooists so as to boost scaleability.

Tattoo studios all over Germany are signing up for the scheme, and the Junge Helden organisation behind it provides a search facility for both tattooists and those wishing to receive the consent-wear.

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Brilliant and much-needed concept / delivery; development open to harmful abuse; either or both, like most innovations?


Posted by Tree Elven on 27/04/2023

Keywords: OPT-INK tattoo organ donation, organ donation consent, organ donor tattoo Germany, McCann Germany, Junge Helden

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