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Legal basis

As of 2007, all organ donations and transplantations are regulated by the Federal Act on the Transplantation of Organs, Tissues and Cells (in short: Transplantation Act). Prior to this, only cantonal regulations had been in force.

The Act sets out the requirements for the use of organs, tissues or cells for transplantation purposes. It is intended to contribute to the availability of human organs, tissues and cells for transplantation purposes, and to prevent the improper handling of organs and protect the donors and recipients involved in the transplantation process. The Act is accompanied by three ordinances:

  • The Transplantation Ordinance regulates the handling of human organs, tissues and cells as well as their removal from deceased and living persons. The organizational and coordinating functions of the cantons as well as those regarding management of the stem cell register are also specified in this decree.
  • The Organ Allocation Ordinance contains provisions governing the acceptance of patients onto the waiting list as well as general and organ-specific resolutions on allocation criteria and priorities.
  • The Organ Allocation Ordinance FDHA (FDHA = Federal Department of Home Affairs) provides detailed descriptions of the allocation criteria for individual organs.

You can find the latest versions of the legal documents here.

In 2013, the Federal Council launched the “Mehr Organe für Transplantationen” (More organs for transplantations) campaign. In Switzerland, the current rate of organs donated after someone has died is 14.4 per million inhabitants – the goal of this campaign is to achieve a donation rate of 20 per million inhabitants. In addition, a further minimum of 500 organs from deceased donors are to be transplanted.
At the beginning of 2014, the Federal Council’s report was approved by the Swiss Conference of the Cantonal Ministers of Public Health (see press review 20.02.2014).