Organ donation: retrieval upon death

Verified 02 June 2023 - Legal and Administrative Information Directorate (Prime Minister)

Do you have to give your consent in your lifetime to the removal of your organs upon your death? No, because you are presumed to have consented to the donation of your organs unless you have registered in the national refusal register. Organ harvesting from a deceased person is for therapeutic or scientific purposes. It is free and anonymous. The doctor who takes this sample must ensure the best possible restoration of the body. We're presenting the regulations.

If you have not expressed a choice about the removal of your organs, your consent is presumed. So you're an organ donor unless you have expressed your refusal during your lifetime.

Presumed Consent

General case

Consent to organ donation is presumed. This means that if you have not given notice of your refusal during your lifetime, you are considered to be in agreement that your organs should be removed when you die.

Before any sampling, it is therefore proceeded to search for information to know if you have issued a disagreement.


Where the deceased person is a minor, the removal may only take place on condition that each of the persons entrusted with the exercise of parental authority (examples: parents, guardian) give its consent in writing.

However, if it is not possible to consult one of the parents, the levy may take place provided that the other parent gives his agreement in writing.

Denial Expression

You can refuse the removal of your organs by signing up for the National Organ Donation Denial Register.

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Entry in the national register of refusals

Before any organ donation, medical teams must systematically consult the national registry for organ donation refusals.

Refusal of sampling may concern theAll organs and tissues may be taken or only some of these organs or tissues.

Please note

Refusal organ retrieval system is revisable and revocable at any time.

The hospital collection coordination team takes into account the most recent expression of will.

Entry in the national register of refusals may be made from the age of 13.

The request is made on free paper or by filling in the form:

Registration in the national organ donation refusal register

Your application is dated and signed.

It is accompanied by a photocopy of a document proving your identity (examples: valid national identity card, passport expired less than 5 years ago, driving license or residence permit).

You can also prove your identity using the FranceConnect online service.

A certificate of registration is sent to you unless you have indicated that you do not wish to receive it.

If you are registered in the register of refusals, you have a right of access and rectification.

To be removed from this file and become a potential donor, you just have to communicate this change to the Biomedicine Agency.

Who shall I contact

A certificate of deregistration is sent to you, unless you have indicated that you do not wish to receive it.

Other expressions of refusal

You can also say no in writing and entrust this document to a relative.

This document is dated and signed by you. Your name, first name, date and place of birth are indicated.

Please note

If you cannot write or sign this document yourself, you can ask 2 witnesses to attest that this document is an expression of your will.

One of your relatives may also make your oral refusal during your lifetime.

This relative or the hospital collection coordination team transcribes this refusal in writing, mentioning precisely the context and the circumstances of its expression.

This document is dated and signed by the relative who asserts this refusal and by the hospital collection coordination team.

The levy is free to prevent trade in human organs.

The levy is anonymous : your family cannot know the identity of the recipient.

The recipient also does not know your identity.

However, your family can always see the results of the transplants carried out with the medical team.

Organs may be removed from a deceased person only for the purpose of therapeutic or scientific.

Death certificate

The donor's death must be medically ascertained.

This observation is made by doctors who do not belong to the teams in charge of the transplants.

Interview with relatives

The announcement of the death shall be made by the doctor in charge of the deceased in the presence, as far as possible, of the hospital coordination team.

If you were not registered in the national refusal register, an interview takes place with your loved ones after your death has been announced.

This interview shall be prepared at least by:

  • Physician in charge of the deceased
  • Hospital Organ and Tissue Collection Coordination Team
  • Paramedic team responsible for you.

The purpose of this interview is to inform your loved ones of a possible removal of organs and tissues from your person.

During this interview, each participant introduces himself. Your loved ones need to be able to identify every caregiver.

These exchanges with your loved ones allow to collect the possible expression of an opposition during your lifetime to the removal of all or part of its organs and tissues.

The resuscitator and the hospital coordination team inform them of the nature, purpose, and procedure of the specimen(s).

The information on the collection is communicated after understanding and acceptance of the reality of the death by your relatives.

Your loved ones may see your body one last time before the sample is taken.

In the event of a sample being removed, the hospital coordination team must remain at the disposal of your loved ones until your body is returned, and accompany them in their subsequent steps.

Preparation of the body for the sample

When the death is announced, your body is kept artificially functioning. Laboratory tests are done to identify possible compatibilities with transplant recipient profiles.

The hospital coordination of transplants is in contact with the regional regulatory and support services of the Biomedicine Agency.

The procedure can be interrupted at any time for medical reasons (deterioration of the state of the organs) or on the knowledge of an indication of the disagreement expressed during your lifetime.

The healthcare establishment which makes the samples shall bear the costs incurred by:

  • By the death of the donor
  • And the body's medical assistance before the sample is taken.

Likewise, cost of transport of the body of a person who has died at a health facility for the purpose of performing organ and tissue retrieval for therapeutic purposes shall be at the expense of that facility.

In all cases, the establishment which carried out the sampling shall ensure that cost of body preservation and restoration after the act of sampling. It also supports refund costs from your body to your family.

The doctor who takes an organ sample from a deceased person must ensure the best possible restoration of the body.

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