The bioethics Law

Updated on 18.02.13

The first legislation in France covering bioethics, passed in 1994, gave a legal status to the human body and introduced principles into the civil code and the code of public health which guarantee the respect of the human body and which are founded on the primacy and dignity of the human being. These ethical principles are applicable to the donation and use of substances and products of human origin:

  • CONSENT: no operation or procedure may be performed on a person’s body without his or her agreement.
  • GRATUITY OF DONATION: based on the principles of the inalienability and non-ownership of the human body, this principle nonetheless does not exclude the reimbursement of expenses incurred by the donor.
  • ANONYMITY: the donor must not know the identity of the recipient, nor the recipient that of the donor. In the event of medical necessity, only the doctors of the donor or the recipient may have access to information that would enable identification.


In the same framework, advertising to promote the donation of substances and products of human origin: for the benefit of a given person or of a given establishment or organisation is prohibited. This ban is intended to prevent any abuse liable to jeopardise the principles of non-ownership and anonymity of donation.