13 October 2012 - European Day for Organ Donation
Since 1998, the Council of Europe organises a European Day for Organ Donation and Transplantation to promote organ donation and transplantation in its member states. It is hosted every year by a different member state with the aim of encouraging debate on this question.
Kidneys, liver, heart, lungs ... while medicine is progressing by leaps, 56,000 people in Europe are on waiting lists for a transplant. Every day 12 of them die because of the lack of available organs.
Since 1987 the member states of the Council of Europe have been working to promote the ethical aspects, such as the respect of donors and receivers, and the prohibition of the sale of human organs, tissues and cells.
The European Committee on Organ Transplantation (CD-P-TO) is in charge of the organisational aspects and of the cooperation. The European Directorate for the Quality of Medicines & HealthCare (EDQM) drives these activities in the 47 member states of the Council of Europe.
Today, 32 European countries, 6 observer countries, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the European Commission cooperate in this area.
Which organs are transplanted the most frequently?
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?
Organ donation is possible when alive in special conditions and following death. In the second case, 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 criterias 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.
EDQM promotes organ donation
On Friday 14 October 2011, around 300 members of Council of Europe's staff stood in a heart formation as part of a giant photo promoting organ donation. The EDQM organized this communication exercise to draw attention of the European press to this great cause.