Donation, procurement and transplantation of organs and tissue

Updated on 22.01.14

In 2012, more than 17,000 patients were put on the waiting list for an organ transplant, but only 5,023 of them actually received transplants. The law on bioethics, as modified on 7 July, 2011, established the issue of organ donation as a national priority. It is also one of the priority projects of the Agence de la biomédecine.
In France, the procurement of organs from deceased donors has been extensively developed and represents the bulk of organ transplants performed in 2011. Seeking to increase the supply of transplants, living kidney donations, which are encouraged alongside deceased donation, has been on the increase in recent years. In 2012, 11.7% of kidney transplants were carried out thanks to a living donation.


When we talk about procuring and transplanting tissues in France, it chiefly relates to the cornea (the thin membrane on the surface of the eyes). But other tissues can be harvested after death, such as skin, bones, arteries, veins and heart valves. In France, over 9,000 corneas were collected in 2012, and just over 4,000 corneal transplants were performed. This form of donation has grown significantly in recent years, mainly because of the development of general hospitals. The number of corneas procured currently meets the needs of patients. The donation of corneas enables thousands of people who have lost their sight to be treated each year.


  • The Agence de la biomédecine manages the national waiting list for organ transplantation, the national waiting list for corneal transplantation and the national register of refusal for organ and tissue donation.
  • It also maintains the register of cross over donations of organs between living people.
  • It devises rules for the allocation of organs.
  • It is responsible for regulating the procurement and allocation of organs.
  • It is responsible for monitoring the state of health of living organ donors.
  • The Agence de la biomédecine publishes information on the donation, procurement and transplantation of organs and tissue, and works to promote donation.
  • The Agence also makes its expertise in this field available to regional health authorities. In this capacity, it expresses an opinion on all requests emanating from healthcare institutions wishing to carry out the procurement and transplantation of organs and tissue.
  • It also organises the work of the expert committees authorising the living donations, providing secretarial services.