European Day for Organ Donation and Transplantation

Quick Facts

2020 Date10 October 2020
2021 Date10 October 2021
European Day for Organ Donation and Transplantation

European Day for Organ Donation and Transplantation History

European Day for Organ Donation and Transplantation raises awareness of the growing demand for organ and tissue donors and to thank all donors and medical professionals for their contributions. Organs are a collection of tissues that perform a specific function, such as a kidney, liver, lung, heart or pancreas. In the EU alone, over 70,000 people are waiting for a transplant and an average of 14 people die every day while waiting for a transplant.

The first European Day for Organ Donation and Transplantation was held in Geneva in 1996 and since 1998, the Council of Europe has organised a main event in a different country every year. On this day, each state in the EU will provide information on organ donation and transplantation, mobilising hospitals and professionals to identify potential donors and give thanks to those who choose to give a life-saving gift.

European Day for Organ Donation and Transplantation Facts & Quotes

  • The slogan for European Day for Organ Donation and Transplantation 2017 was Bring back hope to patients on waiting lists.
  • In total 114,690 organs were transplanted in 2012, 30,685 of these took place in Europe. Kidney transplants are the most common organ to be transplanted- in 2012 there were 77,818 worldwide of which 22,295 took place in Europe.
  • The first successful kidney transplant took place in 1950. The operation was carried out by Dr. Richard Lawler in Chicago.
  • In 2010, the first ever full facial transplant was carried out by Dr Joan Pere Barret and team in Barcelona.
  • When I entered the operating room to give one of my two kidneys to my brother I did not flinch. I had a daughter and a husband waiting for me although in Italy, but my brother had three children in Portugal that were expecting a miracle for their father. Today I have a lovely scar on my body. My brother lives and works completely normal. And if you ask me, I do not consider myself a hero. I am just glad that a part of my body lives inside him .. An organ donor reflecting on donation.

European Day for Organ Donation and Transplantation Top Events and Things to Do

  • Check your organ donation status. Some countries, for instance Germany and the UK have people opt-in schemes, where you must register to be a donor. Other countries, like Austria and Spain, work on an opt-out basis, where organs are automatically donated unless otherwise specified.
  • Roll up your sleeve. You don’t have to give up a kidney to be a donor. Blood products are also in high demand. Blood donation centres are constantly collecting blood and blood components to help those in need.
  • Stop smoking or help a loved one quit! Smokers have a 30% higher risk of transplant failure compared to non-smokers and are far more likely to need one in the first place.
  • Watch a film about organ donation. The journeys and struggles of the process are encapsulated in films like
    1) Never Let Me Go (2010)
    2)Unwind (2007)
    3) Inhale (2010)
  • Learn more about the science and ethics of organ donation and transplants. Some of our favourite reads on the topic:
    1) Twice Dead: Organ Transplants and the Reinvention of Death By Margaret Lock
    2) The Transplant Imaginary: Mechanical Hearts, Animal Parts, and Moral Thinking in Highly Experimental Science By Lesley A. Sharp
    3) Scarce Goods: Justice, Fairness, and Organ Transplantation By Tom Koch

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