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Article Guatemala: Law on Organ, Tissue, and Cell Transplantation Enacted

On February 27, 2024, Guatemala enacted Decree No. 5-2024, the Law for the Disposal and Transplantation of Human Organs, Tissues, and Cells. This legislation governs the donation, extraction, conservation, and use of human organs, tissues, and cells, focusing on therapeutic purposes, and applies to both nationals and foreigners residing in Guatemala. (Arts. 1 & 5.) Notably, the law excludes human blood and its derivatives, which are regulated under a separate statute. (Art. 5.)

This law allows the Ministry of Public Health and Social Assistance to receive human organs, tissues, and cells from abroad for transplant purposes. (Art. 6.) This is contingent upon signing respective cooperation agreements. The law establishes that the Ministry of Public Health and Social Assistance must address the need for specialized training and equipment in transplant surgeries, with provisions for investment in regional hospital centers and staff education. (Id.)

This decree stipulates stringent conditions to determine brain death, requiring the agreement of two registered doctors, one a specialist in neurological sciences and the other in internal medicine. (Arts. 7 & 8.) The National Transplant Council and the Transplant Directorate are established under articles 11 and 14, respectively. These bodies are tasked with advising and implementing the law’s provisions, ensuring that Guatemala’s transplant activities are carried out ethically and effectively. (Arts. 11 – 14.)

The legislation outlines the consent process for organ donation. (Art. 18.) All Guatemalans who have legal capacity can opt to be organ donors. (Id.) Individuals can donate organs while alive or after their death, provided they have expressed their consent in accordance with the law. (Arts. 18 & 22.) The law also provides rules for foreigners and incarcerated individuals, emphasizing respect for personal autonomy and informed consent. (Art. 18.) It also spells out various prohibitions relating to donations and transplants of human organs, tissue, and cells, such as marketing and export for profit, deceptive advertising, and providing financial compensation to donors. (Art. 25.)

The decree establishes sanctions for any violations against this law, the Health Code, or other regulations related to the transplant and disposal of human organs, tissues, and cells. (Art. 32.)

Stephania Alvarez, Law Library of Congress
May 20, 2024

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Chicago citation style:

Alvarez, Stephania. Guatemala: Law on Organ, Tissue, and Cell Transplantation Enacted. 2024. Web Page. https://www.loc.gov/item/global-legal-monitor/2024-05-19/guatemala-law-on-organ-tissue-and-cell-transplantation-enacted/.

APA citation style:

Alvarez, S. (2024) Guatemala: Law on Organ, Tissue, and Cell Transplantation Enacted. [Web Page] Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/global-legal-monitor/2024-05-19/guatemala-law-on-organ-tissue-and-cell-transplantation-enacted/.

MLA citation style:

Alvarez, Stephania. Guatemala: Law on Organ, Tissue, and Cell Transplantation Enacted. 2024. Web Page. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <www.loc.gov/item/global-legal-monitor/2024-05-19/guatemala-law-on-organ-tissue-and-cell-transplantation-enacted/>.