How to be an organ donor in Croatia

Image by Awareness Days

Organ transplantation is a method of treating patients with irreversible organ function failure.

The organs (kidneys, liver, heart, lungs, pancreas, small intestine), tissues (skin, bone parts, heartburn, blood vessels, corneas, etc.) and cells (bloodthirsty stem cells, pancreatic islet cells) can be transplanted if acquired by an organ donor.

Becoming an organ donor in Croatia

In Croatia, anyone who has not explicitly stated they are opposed to organ donation during their life is considered a possible organ donor. Although Croatian law does not require permission to use organs from the family of the deceased person, the family opinion is respected. That is why it is important for your family to get acquainted with your attitude about organ donation.

People who oppose the donation of body parts after their death need to sign a “Izjava o nedarivanju organa” (Denial of Organ Donation) with their family doctor. Denial statements are entered in the register of non-donors at the Ministry of Health.

Only Croatian citizens or those with permanent residence can donate organs freely. However, foreign citizens can donate their organs within Croatia only if they are being directed to a spouse, partner or immediate family member with written consent.

Getting an organ donor card

The organ donor card is of utmost importance as it clearly states the person’s feelings about organ donation. If a deceased person owns a donor card, the family generally respects the attitude of the deceased person and does not make an objection in contradiction to their wishes.

You may request a donor card from your primary health care practitioner or at the Ministry of Health.

Determining death

Parts of the body from a dead person can be taken and donated to another person after brain death has called. It is believed that death occurs when the complete and final cessation of brain circulation (brain death) is found.

Brain death is determined in two consecutive clinical trials by a three-part commission. Physicians who determine the death of the brain are not involved in organ transplantation.

Families donating the organs of their family members who die in hospitals outside their place of residence have the right to have the costs of transportation from the hospital to the burial place paid for by HZZO.

Organ donation from live people

The organ or tissue of a living donor may be taken solely for the treatment of the recipient if there is no appropriate organ or tissue of the deceased person and there is no other approximately equal treatment method.

The ethics committee of the health care institution in which the transplant will be carried out will decide on taking organs from the living donor for the purpose of transferring to the recipient.

Those whom have donated an organ and are alive, obviously, qualify for a free dopunsko health insurance policy through HZZO.

Recipient’s consent

Transplantation may only be done if the recipient has given written consent. A recipient who is not competent or is a minor must have consent provided by their legal representative or guardian.

Privacy of data

Data on donors and recipients of parts of the human body are protected as private information. Only in the case of a medically-justified reason would a medical practitioner be able to gain access to the donor health information.

Sharing is Caring:

4 thoughts on “How to be an organ donor in Croatia

  1. Ellen Kamienowski
    November 15, 2017 @ 10:54 am

    Dear Sarah,
    in order for me to sign up to be an Organ Donor, I must request a form from my doctor . Is that clear? How about my gyno. She is easier to talk to .

    Thank you. Ellen Kamienowski


    • Expat in Croatia
      December 18, 2017 @ 3:12 pm

      Hi Ellen,

      No harm in trying! If you ask your gyno and they are okay giving you the form, please share that with us here. Would be helpful to many. 🙂




  2. Fifi
    August 9, 2020 @ 2:00 pm

    Hiii! I wanted to be a living donor (liver) from the moment I found out about it being an option.Can I somehow register to be one (for a stranger,like with stem cells) ? I’ve been trying to find this information for years but the only information about being a donor in Croatia was about after you die.


    • Expat in Croatia
      August 31, 2020 @ 4:49 pm

      Hi Fifi,

      Thanks for your patience! We had to do some research to answer your question. To donate an organ as a living person, you must be a Croatian citizen.

      When it comes to living donors, organ donation mustn’t be a threat to a living donor’s lif, life quality, or capabilities. Living donors may donate only one of their organs that come in pairs – kidneys or a part of the organ – a part of the liver or a part of the lungs.

      Organs are taken from living persons if there is no good match from a deceased person or if the medical treatment cannot be conducted in some other way.

      A living donor must pass a certain procedure before the transplantation. First, an ethical committee decides whether the person can donate an organ or not. After that, a person must pass medical examinations to reduce all the risks.

      You can read more about this here:




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *