Declaration of Istanbul

Declaration of Istanbul

Organ transplantation is one of the life-saving medical breakthroughs of the 20th century. Over the years, this accomplishment has been marked by growing reports of organ trafficking. Vulnerable people in poor regions have become victim to illegal transplant networks.

In 2008, the International Society of Nephrology (ISN) and the Transplantation Society (TTS) worked on preparing content for the Istanbul Declaration on Organ Trafficking and Transplant Tourism. Their efforts culminated in the Declaration being finalized at the International Summit in Istanbul, Turkey.

This framework governs organ donation and transplantation activities. It is not binding but ensures donor and recipient safety, enforces standards and prohibits unethical practices worldwide. ISN has also set up a group to guide activities and help governments as well as the medical and patient community fight this problem.

Driving out illegal practices

The Declaration calls on the medical community, especially transplant surgeons and nephrologists, to join the World Health Organization (WHO) to put pressure on Health Ministries with a transplantation program to eliminate organ trafficking and transplant tourism. “The legacy of transplantation is threatened by organ trafficking and transplant tourism. The Istanbul Declaration aims to combat these activities and preserve the nobility of organ donation. The success of transplantation as a life-saving treatment does not require, nor justify victimizing the world’s poor as a source of organs for the rich,” claims the Steering Committee of the Istanbul Summit.

For more information, please visit the Declaration of Istanbul wesite at

After a series of meetings, the TTS and ISN have created a Declaration of Istanbul Custodian Group (DICG), which had its inaugural meeting in Cairo, in March 2010. The DICG is co-led by President of TTS Dr. Jeremy Chapman and ISN Secretary General Dr. Adeera Levin.

“This meeting formalized the DICG as a group responsible for shepherding activities of the community including interactions with public and professional groups, governments and patients. A set of working groups were created to foster and track activities worldwide, so that demonstrable progress in the fight against transplant tourism and organ trafficking can be made,” adds Dr. Levin.

Read more about the Declaration of Istanbul Custodian Group (DICG) HERE


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