Spain leads the world in organ donations and transplants

Spain leads the world in organ donations and transplants

Spain leads the world in organ donations and transplants. image: Wikipedia

SPAIN leads the world as the country with the most organ donations, and in carrying out the highest number of organ transplants

Spain continues to be the country in the world with the highest percentage of organ donors per million inhabitants, according to data released for 2020 by the Global Transplant Registry, showing that as a result of the pandemic, both donations and operations dropped by around 18 per cent in all countries.

Despite this, for the 29th consecutive year, Spain heads the list as the country with the most organ donations, and according to the National Transplant Organization (ONT), despite the decline in activity due to the coronavirus last year, the figures in our country exceeded those of any other in the world during the years prior to the pandemic.

If we look at Europe, the data provided by the National Transplant Organization places our country well above the average for the rest of the continent, thus, while in Spain there were 38 donors per million inhabitants, the EU average drops to 18 donors per million. 

Estonia occupied second position, with 25 donors per million inhabitants, and if we look at the number of transplants carried out throughout 2020, Spain is again in the lead, with 95 transplants per million inhabitants, with Austria in second place with 76.

As of December 31, 2020, the waiting list for transplants in Europe totalled 57,717 citizens, and reportedly, each day, 11 people on that waiting list died.

Last year, a total of  122,341 transplants were carried out worldwide thanks to 34,739 deceased donors – 13 per cent less than in 2019 – and 28,635 living donors (32 per cent less), according to data from the 82 countries that have participated in this edition of the “Transplant Newsletter”.

Kidney transplants are the most common, with 76,397 being carried out worldwide, (23,153 of them, 30 per cent, from living donors), followed by 30,275 liver transplants, (5,482, 18 per cent, from living donors), while heart transplants totalled 7,840, lungs 5,765, 1,910 of the pancreas, and 151 of the intestine.

In Spain, 2,047 donations were registered, 1,777 from deceased donors, and 270 from living donors, which made it possible to perform 4,427 transplants, followed by 2,702 kidney transplants, 1,034 liver, 278 heart, 336 lungs, 73 pancreas, and 4 intestinal transplants being performed, as reported by


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Written by

Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at