Voluntary and Unpaid Donation of Tissues and Cells

A report published today by the European Commission shows that nearly all Member States have provisions in place for citizens to donate their tissues and cells voluntarily and without being paid for it.

Donated tissues and cells are needed for transplantations and to help patients with a variety of diseases from heart insufficiency, burned skin wounds to eye diseases.

The 2004 Directive on quality and safety for tissues and cells calls on Member States to take the necessary measures to encourage voluntary and unpaid donation of tissues and cells. The Commission reports on their progress every 3 years. This is the second such Commission report on this subject. It is based on information provided by all Member States, plus non-Eu countries like Norway and Liechtenstein.

Overall, Member States comply with the principles of voluntary and unpaid donation set out in the Directive. Nearly all countries have legislative provisions or guidelines on voluntary and unpaid donation of tissues and cells.

Incentive structures and measures to promote voluntary and unpaid donation on a national level are well established across the EU. Examples of incentives or compensation are refreshments, small tokens, reimbursement of travel costs and medical costs, and time off work for donors.

About two thirds of the countries have taken measures to promote voluntary and unpaid donation of tissues and cells, such as public advertisements and information campaigns.

Collectors/suppliers of tissues and cells are mainly public or a mixture of public and private in the EU, Norway and Liechtenstein. 11 countries have policies in place to promote self-sufficiency of tissues and cells, and 17 countries have bilateral or other forms of agreements to ensure national supply of tissues and cells,

About half of the countries report regular shortages of tissues and cells, including bone marrow and gametes.


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