January 24, 2024

Religion and Donation- There are a lot of Misconceptions

Written by: Adriana Connelly

One of the most common myths our team hears at community events is that an individual’s religion does not support organ, eye and tissue donation. This is far from the truth because all major religions in the United States accept donation as the ultimate final act of charity

Many Americans are still unsure about their religion’s beliefs on donation. There is typically one common theme, their religion encourages or supports donation as a person’s final act of love in the world. Nevada Donor Network believes in honoring different cultural and religious viewpoints on donation. We recognize there are differences in individual opinion even within particular religious groups. Each person’s decision to donate is personal and we proudly honor their choice. Here are the top ten religions we are asked most about: 

  1. Catholicism- Catholics view organ, eye and tissue donation as an act of charity and love. Transplants are ethically and morally acceptable to the Vatican.
  2. Christianity- There is definite evidence for Christian support of organ, eye and tissue donation. They can choose to donate to save the lives of many people. The decision to donate at the end of life is the beginning of healing for many others according to Christianity.  
  3. Bahai- There is no prohibition in the Bahá’í Faith regarding organ, eye and tissue donation. It is a matter left to the individual conscience.
  4. Buddhism- Buddhists believe that organ, eye and tissue donation is a matter of individual conscience, and they place high value on acts of compassion. Central to Buddhism is a wish to relieve suffering, and there may be circumstances where donation is seen as an act of generosity. Each decision will depend on individual circumstances.
  5. Islam- Based on the principles and the foregoing attributes of a Muslim, most Islamic legal scholars have concluded that transplantation of organs as treatment for otherwise lethal end-stage organ failure is a good thing.
  6. Jehovah’s Witnesses- Jehovah’s Witnesses do not believe that the Bible comments directly on organ transplants. All decisions made regarding transplants must be made by the individual. Jehovah’s Witnesses are often assumed to be opposed to donation because of their belief against blood transfusion. However, this merely means that all blood must be removed from the organs and tissues before being transplanted.
  7. Judaism- Rabbi Elliott N. Dorff writes that saving a life through organ donation supersedes the rules concerning treatment of an individual’s body when they have passed away. Transplantation does not desecrate a body or show lack of respect for the dead. Any delay in burial to facilitate organ donation is respectful of the heroic donor. Organ donation saves lives and honors those who have passed away.
  8. Mormon (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints)- The donation of organs and tissues is a selfless act that often results in great benefit to individuals with medical conditions. The decision to donate your organs or tissue for medical purposes or the decision to authorize the transplant of organs or tissue from a loved one who has passed is made by the individual or their courageous family.
  9. United Church of Christ- "United Church of Christ people, churches and agencies are extremely and overwhelmingly supportive of organ sharing,” writes Reverand Jay Lintner, director, Washington Office of the United Church of Christ Office for Church in society.
  10. United Methodist Church- The United Methodists, as with several other religions, believe that organ, eye and tissue donation is an act of charity. They believe preserving life takes precedence over any beliefs that govern the treatment of those who have passed away.

Does this list not include your personal religion? View the entire list of major religions in the United States and their beliefs on organ, eye and tissue donation via the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) here

Has this inspired you to become a registered organ, eye and tissue donor? Get registered now as a part of your New Year’s resolutions!