Parliament in the Netherlands has this week approved a new law that makes all Dutch adults potential organ donors unless they opt out.
The law was approved by a slim margin, of 38-36 votes.
The law's drafter, Pia Dijkstra, said under the new system every Dutch person over 18 not registered as a donor will receive a letter asking if they want to donate their organs after death.
"They will be able to reply: yes, no, my next of kin will decide or a specific person will decide," Dijkstra said in a statement.
Those who do not respond to the first letter, or to a second letter six weeks later, will be considered organ donors, although they can amend their status at any time.
According to Rhe Dutch Kidney Foundation, the vote is "a real breakthrough for patients on waiting lists", saying research in other countries with similar systems shows an increase in registrations of organ donors.
The foundation's director, Tom Oostrom, said the new law means "hundreds of patients will get back their lives and freedom".
The law is expected to be implemented in 2020 and is a big step towards fixing organ shortage in the country.
- With AP