Mum who needs new heart: It should be a gift, not obligation

A mother who is waiting for a donor heart says she is “desperate to go on living”, but organ donation should be a gift rather than an obligation.

Carla Gair has cardiomyopathy and four times has come close to finding a donor heart – only for it to be deemed unsuitable.

She commented: “I think about death every day, but I still don’t feel comfortable with the idea” of presumed consent.

Free gift

Carla spoke out ahead of Wales introducing an ‘opt-out’ system for organ donation on 1 December 2015.

It will mean residents would be presumed to consent to donating their organs at the end of life, unless they say otherwise.

The scheme has previously been criticised for endangering the “positive ethos of donation as a free gift”.


Speaking to the Daily Mail, Carla said the only way she would want to accept a donor heart is “if I felt the family would get a smidgen of comfort from knowing they had given me more time”.

The mum-of-two added: “That’s why, even though I am desperate to go on living for my children, I think donation has to be a gift – a personal choice – rather than an obligation.

“I don’t want anyone to feel their loved one’s heart was ‘taken’.

“What if someone meant to opt out but didn’t get around to it, so I got that heart against their wishes? For me, that really matters.”


In 2013 Barry Morgan, the Archbishop of Wales, told the Guardian newspaper that the new system would mean organ donation is no longer altruistic.

He said: “Donation ought to be a gift of love, of generosity. If organs can be taken unless someone has explicitly registered an objection, that’s not an expression of love. It’s more a medical use of a body.”

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