Donation and transplantation

Donations from deceased persons should be developed to their maximum therapeutic potential avoiding, whenever possible, the inherent risks to live donors, as stated in WHO Guiding Principle 3. There is a recognized need for communities, and health professionals, to become better educated about donation and transplantation and that is the key to the success of deceased donation programmes.

However, despite the frequent use of materials donated from deceased donors, the donations from living donors are necessary for some types of transplants or to compensate for the limited supply of material available from deceased donors in order to meet patient needs. Living donation is thus practised despite the fact that it involves risks for the donor that may not be negligible.

As the procurement of human material for transplantation from deceased or living donors and the subsequent allogeneic transplantation may entail ethical and safety risks for both the recipient and the donor, strict controls and effective oversight should be carried out by the health authorities to protect them. The Guiding Principles mandate optimal care for donors and recipients.

The transparent oversight of the health authorities over donation and transplantation activities is also essential to increase the trust of the public in the system. In addition, the decision to be a donor is often based on the understanding that a contribution to the availability of transplant resources may someday benefit the health needs of the donor’s family.

If we are prepared to receive a transplant should we need one, then we should be ready to give


Contact information

Transplantation of human cells, tissues and organs
Service Delivery and Safety
Health Systems and Innovation
World Health Organization
Avenue Appia 20
11211 Geneva 27