How to be an organ donor in Croatia

Ambulance vehicle in Croatia
Ambulance vehicle in Klinika za traumatologiju (Department of Traumatology) in Zagreb

UPDATED: 02/11/2022

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.

Croatia celebrates Nacionalni dan darivanja i presađivanja organa i tkiva (National Day of Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation) on May 26.

In this post, we cover:

The facts are these…

How to become an organ donor in Croatia

Who can donate organs 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’s opinion is respected. That is why it is important for your family to get acquainted with your attitude about organ donation.

[Read: How to die in Croatia: Part 2 (What you should do before you die in Croatia)]

People who oppose the donation of body parts after their death need to sign Izjava o nedarivanju organa (Denial of Organ Donation) with their family doctor. You can view it here. 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 a Croatian 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 healthcare practitioner or at the Ministry of Health.

How is death determined in Croatia?

Parts of the body of a dead person can be taken and donated to another person after brain death has been 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.

[Read: How to die in Croatia: Part 1 (What happens right after death including transportation of the deceased)]

Organ donation from live people in Croatia

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 to transfer to the recipient.

Read about the Croatian foundation called Zaklada Ana Rukavina (Ana Rukavina Foundation), which helps those diagnosed with leukemia in this post.

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

[Read: What is “dopunsko” and why you should have this health insurance]

Recipient’s consent on organ donation in Croatia

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.

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’s health information.

View our other donation articles

Darivanje organa by e-Građani
Zakon o presađivanju ljudskih organa u svrhu liječenja
Kako (ne)postati darivatelj organa? by Ministarstvo zdravstva
Nacionalni dan darivanja i presađivanja organa i tkiva by Udruga poslodavaca u zdravstvu Hrvatske

Please note: Information provided by Expat in Croatia is only for the purposes of guidance. It does not constitute legal or financial advice in any form. Croatian laws and bureaucratic rules often change, and each personal case is individual, so different rules may apply. For legal advice, contact us to consult with a licensed Croatian lawyer. For financial advice, contact us to consult with a licensed Croatian tax advisor or accountant.

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