The toll of COVID-19 on organ donation and kidney transplantation in Europe: Do legislative defaults matter?

Ugur Z. B., Molina Pérez A.

Health Policy, vol.136, 2023 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 136
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.healthpol.2023.104890
  • Journal Name: Health Policy
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, ASSIA, International Bibliography of Social Sciences, PASCAL, Periodicals Index Online, Business Source Elite, Business Source Premier, CAB Abstracts, CINAHL, EMBASE, MEDLINE, PAIS International, Public Affairs Index, Veterinary Science Database
  • Keywords: COVID-19, Organ donation, Transplantation, Presumed consent, Consent regime, IMPACT, RECIPIENTS, MORTALITY
  • Ankara University Affiliated: Yes


This study investigates the cascading effects of COVID-19 pandemic on organ donation and transplantation in Europe. We also check whether legislative defaults for organ donation have a role in these outcomes. For this purpose, we used data from 32 European countries, between 2010 and 2021, and estimated pooled OLS regressions. We find that COVID-19 pandemic reduced deceased organ donation rates by 23.4%, deceased kidney transplantation rates by 27.9% and live kidney transplantation rates by 31.1% after accounting for health system capacity indicators. While our study finds that presumed consent legislation under normal circumstances leads to notable benefits in terms of deceased kidney transplantation and organ donation rates, the legislative defaults did not have a significant impact during the pandemic. Additionally, our findings indicate a trade-off between living and deceased transplantation that is influenced by the legislative default.