Kidneys, liver, heart, lungs ... while transplantation medicine is constantly developing, 70,000 people in the EU alone are still on waiting lists for a transplant, making the lack of organs the main obstacle to transplant medicine.  In 2014, 12 people every day died, 12 people died because of the lack of available organs.

The Council of Europe is working tirelessly to promote the ethical aspects, such as the respect of donors and receivers, and the non-commercialisation of human organs, tissues and cells.

The European Committee on Organ Transplantation (CD-P-TO) is the steering committee in charge of organ transplantation activities at the European Directorate for the Quality of Medicines & HealthCare (EDQM). Today, 37 European member states as well as 25 worldwide observer states, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the European Commission cooperate in this area.


European Day for Organ Donation & Transplantation

The idea behind this Day, initiated by the Council of Europe, is to help a different member state each year to encourage debate and provide information on organ donation and transplantation, legal and medical measures so that each person can decide on donation and make their wishes known to their family.

It is about helping member states to promote organ donation and transplantation, and mobilise hospitals and professionals on the identification of potential donors. It is also an opportunity to honour all organ donors and their families and to thank transplantation professionals throughout Europe whose hard work helps saving lives and improving the quality of life of many people.

Which organs are transplanted the most frequently?

Almost all organs or tissues can be transplanted, and the media regularly covers the progress being made. Modern transplantation techniques currently offer almost unlimited possibilities thanks to research carried out throughout the world.

The most frequently transplanted organs are kidneys, pancreas, liver, lungs, heart and bone marrow. The most frequently transplanted tissues are skin, heart valves or arteries, bones and cornea.


When can a person give his/her organs or tissues and is there a minimum age?

When alive, a person can, under very specific conditions, donate body parts for transplantation; a kidney or more rarely a part of the liver or lungs for example, or bone marrow cells or cells from particular organs, skin, cartilage, etc.

Most organs, though, are donated after the donor has died. Following death, the possibilities for donation are much wider: the gift of a heart, a liver, both lungs, the cornea, a pancreas, bones...

There is no age limit but the quality of the organs is very important. In the case of a minor, special criteria are aimed at protecting his/her rights are applied.


Are transplantation procedures clearly defined?

Yes they are. Firstly, because these interventions can only be performed by highly specialised medical teams and in authorised medical centres which ensure that the "rules of good practice" are respected. Moreover, national laws governing donation and transplantation in Europe prohibit the sale of organs, tissues and cells, and ensure that the anonymity between donor and recipients is respected.

Reference sites

About the Day

2016 EODD: Due to current safety concerns and travel restrictions in a number of European countries, the European Committee on Organ Transplantation (CD-P-TO) has decided to suspend the European Organ Donation Day (EODD) in 2016.

EDQM promotes organ donation

2015 promotional campaign includes 4 short video clips. Each clip follows a different character (Julia, Anna, Daniel and George), who either become an organ donor or receive a transplant. You can watch the clips here and share them with your social network, with aim of generating lots of interest and debate on the topic of organ donation.

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