Last updated on 03 Apr 2024

Professional guidance on travelling for organ transplantation

On 1 July 2022, an amendment was made to Section 32 of the Human Tissue Act 2004 and Section 20 of the Human Tissue (Scotland) Act 2006, which extended the offences set out in these sections so that they have extraterritorial jurisdiction. These offences relate to financial or commercial dealings in human material for transplant, such as buying or selling human organs. 

In practice, this means that any person who is resident in England, Wales or Scotland is committing an offence if they are involved in seeking, offering, or receiving payment or reward for donating organs for transplantation or initiating, negotiating, advertising or being involved in buying or selling human organs for transplantation, anywhere in the world. 

On 1 April 2024, the Human Tissue Act 2004 (Supply of Information about Transplants) Regulations 2024 came into force. These Regulations make it mandatory for relevant clinicians in England, Wales and Northern Ireland to report:  

  • a reasonable suspicion that an organ donation and transplantation related offence may have been committed under the Human Tissue Act or Modern Slavery legislation, and  

  • a patient who has received an organ transplant outside the UK. 

While organ donation and transplant offences have always existed under the Human Tissue Act 2004, there was no statutory requirement for clinicians to report this information. By requiring clinicians to report these cases, the burden placed on clinicians to decide whether recipients or donors should be reported (for example, at the risk of breaking patient trust) is lifted. 

To report under the Regulations, email: report@hta.gov.uk