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Organs, tissues, and cells donation in Mexico

How to cite this article: Moreno-Treviño MG, Rivera-Silva G. Organs, tissues, and cells donation in Mexico. Rev Med Inst Mex Seguro Soc. 2015 Nov-Dec;53(6):762-3.



Received: March 27th 2015

Accepted: September 8th 2015

Organs, tissues, and cells donation in Mexico

María Guadalupe Moreno-Treviño,a Gerardo Rivera-Silvaa

aDivisión de Ciencias de la Salud, Universidad de Monterrey, Monterrey, Nuevo León, México

Communication with: Gerardo Rivera-Silva

Telephone: (81) 8215 1446


Transplants are one of the most important advances of modern medicine; in the last 50 years in our country there have been more than fifty thousand transplants, which makes it clear that this is one of the most sought-after medical practices not only in Mexico but worldwide. In life, it is possible for a person to donate a kidney, a lung or a liver segment. When brain death occurs it is possible for a person to donate kidneys, heart, liver, pancreas, intestines, lungs, blood, hematopoietic cells, bone marrow, bones, corneas, heart valves, tendons, and arteries. However, the culture of organ donation is not widespread among Mexicans, hence in our country there is not even 50 % of the number of donations recommended by WHO, which impacts the number of patients who are waiting for an organ or tissue, which causes many of them die before receiving them.

Keywords: Transplants, Tissue donors, Mexico.

In Mexico, the issue of the donation of organs, tissues, and cells should be considered a matter of paramount importance. At present, there are just over eighteen thousand people registered with the Consejo Nacional de Trasplantes, who need an organ; however, only 6.3% have this available, the rest are in a dependent state, waiting for an organ donation to help improve their health condition.1 The myths created and lack of information on the subject have made the donation of organs, tissues, and cells insufficient in our country, which is reflected in the small number of potential donors registered in the Programa Nacional de Donación, which has made it so that more than one hundred thousand potential beneficiaries see only a far-off possibility of their quality of life improving.   

Diffusion campaigns have yielded some results; since 1963, when the first transplant was performed in our country,2 there have been more than fifty thousand transplants; however, this number is insufficient. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that the number of organ donations should be 20 per million inhabitants, while our country manages on average 9 per million inhabitants per year. As mentioned above, the need has emerged to implement new strategies and strengthen existing ones, to improve not only the procurement of organs but also tissues and cells (Table I).

In our society there is a lack of information and education on the subject; most people think that they are legally are unprotected. However, one should specify that the Ley General de Salud provides regulations on organ and tissue donation in Title XIV, Chapters 1 to 3, Articles 313 to 342,3 and that Article 24 of the Código Civil Federal guarantees the person the power to decide about their body.4 From the religious point of view, with Catholicism predominant in Mexico, the Catholic hierarchy has declared itself in favor of organ donation; the Evangelium vitae encyclical mentions: “Organ donation stands out as a gesture of solidarity that nourishes an authentic culture of life, provided it is performed according to acceptable ethical standards."5

Currently there are only five states that meet WHO international standards: Distrito Federal (Mexico City), Jalisco, Nuevo Leon, Puebla, and San Luis Potosi, where the donation rate is 21 per million inhabitants. In additional, there are 406 hospitals certified and licensed to donate and transplant organs, but not all are for tissues and cells, so it is necessary to promote the creation of banks of organs, tissues, and cells, in both public and private institutions. The main objective should be to implement public health education as an essential strategy to raise awareness of the importance of the donation of organs, tissues and cells. In addition one must facilitate, encourage, and develop new medical-scientific instruments or mechanisms to substitute conventional methods used in the use and disposal of organs, tissues, and cells, so that a larger number of patients may benefit.

  1. Estadísticas [tablas y gráficas de página en internet]. Centro Nacional de Trasplantes, 2014 [consultado 2014 abril 23]. Disponible en:
  2. Historia de trasplantes un largo camino que tiene historia [Internet]. Secretaría de Salud del Estado de México, 2014 [consultado 2014 abril 25].
  3. Ley General de Salud. Últimas Reformas Internet] DOF 14-07-2008 [consultado 2014 abril 26].
  4. Sanchez- Cordero O. Mors Tua, Vita Mea. Apuntes para la definición jurídica de una relación sui generis en el derecho mexicano: la donación de órganos [documento en internet]. Suprema Corte de Justicia de la Nación, 2001 [consultado 2014 abril 26].
  5. Juan Pablo II. Encíclica Evangelium Vitae [Internet], 1995 [consultado 2014 abril 28].

Conflict of interest statement: The authors have completed and submitted the form translated into Spanish for the declaration of potential conflicts of interest of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors, and none were reported in relation to this article.

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