Some countries have opt-in arrangements, others have opt-out arrangements when it comes to post-mortem organ donorship.

What happens if you die while traveling abroad? Is your body lost in transit, or are there ways to remain a valid donor to save someones life?


The German Federal Centre for Health Education offers donor cards in many languages specifically for this purpose. They do warn that the local rules apply by default (Grundsätzlich gilt immer die Regelung des jeweiligen Landes) but they claim the card would generally be honored.

Beyond the implementation details (opt-in, opt-out, central register or not, etc.) the rules generally give a strong weight to the wishes of the deceased. It does therefore make sense that carrying a document expressing those wishes unambiguously in the local language would make it more likely that your organs would be used following your instructions.

  • Does that mean that whenever I travel across the world, it would be sensible for me to carry said document? What if I have an insurance which supports repatriation of remains? Then what happens? – Aditya Somani Jul 3 '14 at 1:04

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