European day for organ, tissue and cell donation





The demand for organ transplantation is increasing all over the world, leaving us with an urgent question: how can we ensure that everyone in need receives a lifeline? Unfortunately, the answer lies in the sobering reality of our present – there simply are not enough organs available to meet the need. This shortage of organs is now the limiting factor in treating many patients with chronic organ failure and has led to high numbers of patients on waiting lists.

On average in 2022, 39 000 patients received a transplant and 48 000 new patients were registered on waiting lists in the member states of the Council of Europe. That’s nearly five new patients added to a transplant waiting list every hour.

Now, close your eyes and imagine the profound impact we can make together. Picture a future where those waiting cease to wait; where hope is restored and lives are transformed through the valuable present of organ, tissue and cell donation. The power of change lies within each and every one of us. Because our present can be the future of someone in need.

Thousands of patients on waiting lists. A chronic shortage of organs, tissues and cells. The result: in 2022, an average of 19 patients died every day while waiting for an organ transplant in Europe.


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Why a European Donation Day (EDD)?

Sponsored by the European Directorate for the Quality of Medicines & HealthCare (EDQM) of the Council of Europe and hosted by a different country every year since 1996, the European Donation Day (EDD) aims to raise public awareness of the need for organ, tissue and cell donation and promote the principle of voluntary and non-remunerated donation.

In 2023, the European Donation Day is celebrated on 7 October.

Organ, tissue and cell transplantation is one of the great medical success stories of modern times, offering major therapeutic benefits and improvements to quality of life. It is also, in many cases, the only treatment capable of restoring essential functions, such as sight, or of saving patients suffering from end-stage organ failure. Demand for transplantable organs, tissues and cells still far exceeds supply, however, with important consequences for health. The key figures from Newsletter Transplant, the annual worldwide survey on transplantation, make clear just how dire the situation is for thousands of patients who suffer in silence.

Spain is the host country of this year’s EDD, but all countries are invited to mark the occasion.

More information on the activities around Europe can be found on

EDD 2023 in Spain

To mark this year’s European Donation Day, Spain will host several events in Santander:

  • 8 November: meeting of the European Committee on Organ Transplantation (CD-P-TO)

The CD-P-TO is the steering committee in charge of organ transplantation activities at the EDQM/Council of Europe. Its mandate includes raising awareness on organ, tissue and cell donation, transplantation and human application, in addition to elaborating ethical, quality and safety standards in the field of transplantation, promoting the principle of non-commercialisation of organ, tissue and cell donation, and strengthening measures to avoid trafficking.

  • 9-10 November: International conference “Towards Global Convergence in Transplantation: Sufficiency, Transparency & Oversight”

This conference, co-organised by the Spanish Organización Nacional de Trasplantes, the World Health Organization and the Council of Europe, under the Spanish Presidency of the Council of the European Union, will highlight important progress made in the field of transplantation, critically review the current situation of donation and transplantation, identify key challenges and devise the future of transplantation in the global arena.

  • 11 November: A popular walk

A public walk will be held to help raise awareness of donation and transplantation issues among the general public.


Every single person has a role to play in helping others.

Our social media campaign


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Discover what #YourPresentTheirFuture really means, through the stories of Anna, George, Daniel and Julia

Say yes to organ, tissue and cell donation!

The European Donation Day (EDD) aims to stimulate dialogue and encourage European citizens to say yes to organ, tissue and cell donation.




If you would like to save or improve the lives of many others even after your demise, speak to your relatives and friends about your personal choice concerning organ donation. You may also encourage them to say yes to giving the valuable present of organ donation!



Spread the message in favour of organ, tissue and cell donation!

Share and support EDD on social media: #YourPresentTheirFuture


Donate during your lifetime as well!

Consider helping others during your lifetime by registering to donate your stem cells, found in your bone marrow, or peripheral blood, which can be used for the treatment of blood disorders and immune diseases.

When a baby is born, you can donate the umbilical cord blood, which is also rich in stem cells, and/or the placenta.

You may also consider helping others to fulfil their dream of becoming parents by donating oocytes (women) or sperm (men).


Say yes to giving the valuable present of organ, tissue and cell donation!

Find out all about donation and transplantation in your country and talk about your choice with your family, friends and colleagues! Let's Talk about it!

Useful freely available guidance and information for health professionals


Carefully prepared by the European Committee on Organ Transplantation, these booklets are aimed at helping families, donors and parents, and provide independent and scientifically grounded information. These titles are available in English and French.

Tissue donation – Everything you need to know

Fertility preservation, a guide for people facing an illness or life events that may affect their fertility” 

Donation of oocytes, a guide for women to support informed decisions

Exercise your way to better post-transplant health” 

Umbilical cord blood banking”