Organ transplants save lives. The prerequisite for this is the willingness to donate organs. Organs can only be removed from braindead individuals when the individual has an organ donor card or if the family agrees. In some circumstances, certain organs can be donated by healthy living individuals. Today, about 40% of all donor kidneys in Switzerland come from living donors.
Organ donor card
Anyone wishing to donate organs or tissue after death can document this wish in the form of an organ donor card and by informing their relatives. You can download the donation card at www.swisstransplant.org or ask your GP. You can also request one at the University Hospital Zurich.
In addition, you can record your wishes in an advance directive. Organs may only be removed when your approval is documented (organ donor card or advance directive) or if your family agrees.
Deciding and informing at an early stage
The decision as to whether an organ is to be donated is extremely difficult for family members. The shock and grief over an accident or serious illness and impending death of a loved one are overwhelming. Our experience shows that it is a great relief for the relatives to know the will of the dying person and to act accordingly. It is therefore very important to talk with your family about organ donation. If you want to donate, please carry the donation card with you and inform your family.
In Switzerland, an extended consent solution applies in accordance with the new Transplantation Act of July 1, 2007. Article 8 of the Transplantation Act regulates the conditions that must be met. Accordingly, organs of a braindead individual may be removed only if either the deceased has expressed his wish to donate during his lifetime with an organ donor card or if the closest relatives agree on the removal of an organ. The relatives are bound to the presumed intentions of the deceased. In certain cases, organ donation is possible at the University Hospital Zurich following cardiac arrest and subsequent brain death (called a non-heart-beating/DCD donation).