NHMRC Ethical Guidelines

NHMRC Ethical Guidelines for organ transplantation from deceased donors

Currently under review - 2023/24

The Ethical Guidelines provide an overarching framework to guide ethical practice and inform decision making by everyone involved in assessing the eligibility of an individual for transplantation, assessing the suitability of donor organs for transplantation and allocating organs from deceased donors. The Ethical Guidelines are also intended to inform the Clinical Guidelines for Organ Transplantation from Deceased Donors which are maintained by TSANZ. 

The Ethical Guidelines apply to the transplantation of solid organs and vascularised tissue composite allografts (such as the hand or face) from deceased donors. They do not apply to: 

  • the process of organ donation

  • transplantation of organs from living donors

  • transplantation of human tissue

  • transplantation of gametes, ovarian or testicular tissue, or embryos for reproductive purposes.

Organ Trafficking and Transplant Tourism

TSANZ strongly endorses The Declaration of Istanbul on Organ Trafficking and Transplant Tourism that condemns trafficking of organs including the use of organs from executed prisoners. The TSANZ condemns the practice of purchasing a Transplant under any circumstances. Consistent with this, TSANZ also condemns the practice of Australian or New Zealand patients travelling abroad with the intention of purchasing an organ transplant.

It is a fundamental principle for the TSANZ that organs and tissues are given freely and without coercion and this excludes any executed prisoner from being a donor

The TSANZ, supports the efforts of the World Health Organization (WHO), to curtail the use of organs from executed prisoners in all countries around the world.

WHO Guiding Principles on Human Cell, Tissue and Organ Transplantation

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