FACTS ABOUT ORGAN, TISSUE AND EYE DONATION
- Since the first successful organ transplant in 1954, medical advances in organ donation and transplantation have saved countless lives. Success rates for organ transplants average 80 - 90 percent, and more than 90 percent for various types of tissue transplants.
- One organ donor can save up to 8 lives. The same donor can also save or improve the lives of up to 50 people by donating corneas and tissues.
- Anytime you are in a hospital, doctors will do all they can to save your life. Donation only occurs after the death of a patient is declared by physicians who are legally not affiliated with donation.
- The factors that determine who receives an organ include severity of illness, time spent on the waiting list, and blood type. Financial or celebrity status has no bearing on determining who receives a transplant.
- Donation takes place under the same sterile conditions as any medical procedure. A donor’s body is never disfigured and donation does not interfere with funeral arrangements. Open casket services are possible.
- If you’re a donor, your family does not pay any bills related to donation.
- All major religions support donation.
- It is illegal to buy and sell organs in the U.S. The system for matching donor organs and potential recipients is regulated by the Federal Government.
RELIGIOUS VIEWS ON ORGAN, TISSUE AND EYE DONATION
Buddhists believe that organ and tissue donation is a matter of individual conscience. Acts of compassion are highly valued. Professor Robert Thurman, the chair of religious studies/Jey Tsong Khapa professor of Buddhist studies at Columbia University, and president of Tibet House, stated that the gift of the body is “a karmic advantage to a person.”
- Catholics view organ and tissue donation as an act of charity, fraternal love and self‐sacrifice. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, prior to becoming Pope Benedict XVI, disclosed that he was a member of an association of organ donors. “To spontaneously give parts of one’s body to help someone in need is a great act of love,” he said.
- In the Hindu religion, organ and tissue donation is an individual decision. It is not prohibited by religious laws. Uma V. Mysorekar, MD, FACOG, the president of the Hindu Temple Society of North America, wrote: “If Hinduism is a way of life, we can give a portion of ourselves to others.”
- Muslims believe in the principle of saving human lives, and permit donation as a means of achieving that noble end. Imam Shamsi Ali of the Islamic Cultural Center of New York, wrote: “Being an organ donor is a way to show the kindness God and His Prophet, Muhammad instructed us in.”
- Jehovah’s Witnesses believe donation is a matter of individual conscience, with the provision that all organs and tissues are completely drained of blood before transplantation.
- Jews believe that if it is possible to donate an organ to save a life, it is obligatory to do so. Since restoring sight is considered lifesaving, this includes cornea transplantation. Rabbi Moses Tendler, chairman of the biology department of Yeshiva University, wrote the following, citing the imperative from Deuteronomy 30:19: “You shall choose life.”
- The many different Protestant denominations encourage and endorse donation, at the very least as a matter of personal conscience. Rev. Timothy Birkett, the president of the Church Alive Community Church in the Bronx, said, “The greatest treasure that God created was the human body, and he gave it the gift of life. So why not share it that others might live? Be an organ donor and be a blessing to someone.”