Barcelona Principles

Global Bioethical Principles

Establishment of the Principles

On June 14, 2018, the global community of eye care and corneal transplantation organizations unveiled the world’s first agreement on the use of donated human tissue for ocular transplantation, research, and future technologies.

The document’s launch took place during the World Ophthalmology Congress in Barcelona, which explains their title; the Barcelona Principles. EBAA President/CEO, Kevin Corcoran, along with his counterparts from the other five multi-national eye banking associations, signed the Principles during a ceremony hosted by the Catalonian government and presided over by the Minister of Health of Catalonia and representatives of the World Health Organization.

About the Barcelona Principles

“The Barcelona Principles” says Graeme Pollock of the Global Alliance of Eye Bank Association, “evolved from the global community seeking guidance on current ethical dilemmas, where they seek to improve tissue access to millions of waiting recipients without compromising their personal moral integrity and professional custodial responsibilities to the donor, recipient and the extended community.”

“The global community is concerned about the emergence and development of a “market mentality” around donations, and the Barcelona Principles clearly state that it is our collective responsibility to protect and retain stewardship of altruistic donations as a public resource for the shared benefit of all,” says Pollock.

View Graeme Pollock’s presentation about the Barcelona Principles here.

The Barcelona Principles’ Central Tenets
  1. Respect the autonomy of the donor and their family members in the consent process.
  2. Protect the integrity of the altruistic and voluntary donation and its utility as a public resource for the shared benefit of all.
  3. Support sight restoration and ocular health for recipients.
  4. Promote fair, equitable, and transparent allocation mechanisms.
  5. Uphold the integrity of the custodian’s profession in all jurisdictions.
  6. Develop services that promote ethical CTO management, traceability, and utility.
  7. Develop self-sufficient services at the local or national level.
  8. Recognize and address the ethical, legal and clinical implications of international activities.
  9. Ensure the ethical practice and governance of research requiring cells, tissue and/or organs.

The Barcelona Principles adhere to the World Health Organization’s Guiding Principles on Human Cell, Tissue and Organ Transplantation. They were developed in partnership with the Global Alliance of Eye Bank Associations, along with International Council of Ophthalmology, International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness, the Cornea Society, and ophthalmology societies around the world.