Your Right to Donate Organs and Tissue

Everyone can decide for themselves whether they wish to donate their organs for the purposes of transplantation. The will of the deceased takes precedence over the will of the relatives. Organs, tissues or cells are donated free of charge and trading in these is prohibited. 

The practical situation

Organs, tissue or cells may only be removed from a deceased person for transplantation purposes if they have given their consent prior to death. If consent has not been given, the deceased’s relatives must have given their consent.
The will of the deceased takes precedence over the will of the relatives. This is why it is important to make your will known beforehand. Any person capable of judgement aged 16 or over can issue an organ donation declaration. You can donate organs, tissues and cells even when you have reached a ripe old age.

What if there is no organ donation declaration?

If there is no documented consent to donation, the relatives can give their consent on the basis of the assumed will of the deceased. However, if the deceased has given a person they trust authority to decide whether organs can be removed, this person will decide instead of the relatives. If there are no relatives and no trusted person, or if they cannot be contacted, organs may not be removed.

Living donation

Organs, tissue or cells may only be removed from living people if they are adults, capable of judgement and have given their free and informed consent in writing; in addition there must be no serious risk to their health and there must be no other therapeutic method of comparable benefit which can be used to treat the recipient.
Organs, tissue or cells must not be removed from minors and people incapable of judgement. Exceptions may only be made under exceptionally strict conditions.

What can I do if I want to donate my organs after I die?

Clearly express your willingness to donate one or more organs and fill in an organ donor card. Always carry the card with you. Organ donor cards and more information can be obtained from Swisstransplant ( or from the Federal Office of Public Health ( However you decide, tell your relatives too to make sure that your will is respected.

Can I revoke my decision to donate my organs?

Yes, you can revoke your decision at any time. Do this by destroying your organ donor card and informing your relatives.

We cannot offer personal advice. Please refer to the page Options of Counselling and contact the appropriate office. Many thanks.

Last modification 08.07.2020

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Federal Office of Public Health FOPH
Division Health strategies
Section National health policy
Schwarzenburgstrasse 157
3003 Bern
Tel. +41 58 463 30 11

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