Many people are unsure about their religion’s stance on organ, eye and tissue donation. Specific beliefs differ from denomination to denomination, but most religions around the world support donation as one of the highest expressions of compassion and generosity.
Nevada Donor Network is sensitive to different religious and cultural views on organ, eye and tissue donation. We understand there may be differences of personal opinion, even within a particular religious group. Each decision to become a donor is a personal one and we respect every individual’s right to make that choice. Together, we help save and enhance lives by offering resources to serve your faith communities.
To read more on a specific religion's view on donation, please use the links below.
AME & AME ZION +
Organ and tissue donation is viewed as an act of neighborly love and charity by these denominations. They encourage all members to support donation as a way of helping others.
The Amish will consent to transplantation if they believe it is for the well-being of the transplant recipient.
Assembly of God +
Donating our organs may give the gift of life to someone else long after we have gone home to be with the Lord. The alternative is to keep our organs even in death. Ultimately, the question comes down to whether or not we view it right for our organs to be candidates for resource.
There is no prohibition in the Bahá’í Faith on organ donation. It is a matter left to the individual conscience.
Buddhists believe that organ 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 organ donation may be seen as an act of generosity.
The needs and wishes of the dying person must not be compromised by the wish to save a life. Each decision will depend on individual circumstances.
Church of the Brethren +
The Church of the Brethren commits itself and urges its congregations, institutions, and members to: inform and educate themselves by taking advantage of resources within their region as to organ and tissue donation, support and encourage individuals to be in discussion with clergy and family as to their wishes regarding the use of their organs and/or tissues for transplantation upon death.
Roman Catholics view organ and tissue donation as an act of charity and love. Transplants are morally and ethically acceptable to the Vatican.
There is definite evidence for Christian support of organ donation. We can choose to donate our organs to save the lives of many people. The decision to donate at the end of life is the beginning of healing for many others. Healing and saving life is a great gift.
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) +
The Christian Church encourages organ and tissue donation, stating that individuals were created for God’s glory and for sharing of God’s love.
Christian Science +
The Church of Christ, Scientist does not have a specific position regarding organ donation. Christian Scientists normally rely on spiritual instead of medical means of healing. They are free, however, to choose whatever form of medical treatment they desire, including a transplant. The question of organ and tissue donation is an individual decision.
Church of the Nazarene +
The Church of the Nazarene encourages members who do not object personally to support donor and recipient anatomical gifts through living wills and trusts.
The 70th General Convention of the Episcopal Church recommends and urges all members of this Church to consider seriously the opportunity to donate organs after death that others may live, and that such decision be clearly stated to family, friends, church and attorney.
Evangelical Covenant Church +
A resolution passed at the Annual Meeting in 1982 encouraged members to sign and carry organ donor cards.
The resolution also recommended that it becomes a policy with our pastors, teachers, and counselors to encourage awareness of organ donation in all our congregations.
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America +
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America regards the donation of deceased donor organs as an appropriate means of contributing to the health and well-being of the human family and encourages its members to consider the possibility of organ donation and to communicate their wishes to family members, physicians and health care institutions.
Greek Orthodox +
The Rev. Stanley S. Harakas, former professor of ethics at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, wrote the following about donation: “In the case of organ transplants, the crucial ethical considerations are two-fold; the potential harm inflicted upon the donor and the need of the recipient. Historically, the Orthodox Church has not objected to similar, though not identical, procedures, such as blood transfusions and skin grafts. In both cases, no radical threat to the life of the donor is perceived, and the lifesaving consequences for the recipient are substantial.”
Gypsies are a people of different ethnic groups without a formalized religion. They share common folk beliefs and tend to be opposed to organ donation. Their opposition is connected with their beliefs about the afterlife.
According to the Hindu Temple Society of North America, Hindus are not prohibited by religious law from donating their organs. This act is an individual’s decision.
Independent Conservative Evangelical +
Generally, Evangelical Christians have no opposition to organ and tissue donation. Each church is autonomous and leaves the decision to donate up to the individual.
Donation by living donors and by cadaveric donors is not only permitted but encouraged. Organ donation should be considered as an expression of the believer’s altruism and Islam encourages the virtuous qualities which are supportive of organ donation: generosity, duty, charity, co-operation, etc.
Jehovah’s Witnesses +
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.
Rabbi Elliott N. Dorff writes that saving a life through organ donation supersedes the rules concerning treatment of a dead body. Transplantation does not desecrate a body or show lack of respect for the dead, and any delay in burial to facilitate organ donation is respectful of the decedent. Organ donation saves lives and honors the deceased.
Lutheran Missouri Synod +
The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod encourages organ donation as an act of Christian love, but this choice is entirely up to the individual and/or his or her family, and should not be a cause of guilt or regret no matter what decision is made.
Mennonites have no formal position on donation but are not opposed to it. They believe the decision to donate is up to the individual and/or his or her family.
The Moravian Church has made no statement addressing organ and tissue donation or transplantation. It is, therefore, a matter of individual choice.
MORMONS (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 will or donate one’s own body organs or tissues for medical purposes, or the decisions to authorize the transplant of organs or tissue from a deceased family member, is made by the individual or the deceased member’s family.
Pentecostals believe that the decision to donate should be left up to the individual.
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) recognizes the life-giving benefits of organ and tissue donation, and thereby encourages all Christians to become organ and tissue donors as a part of their ministry to others in the name of Christ, who gave life that we might have life in its fullness.
Because of the many different Protestant denominations, a generalized statement on their attitudes toward organ and tissue donation cannot be made. However, the denominations share a common belief in the New Testament. (Luke 6:38: “Give to others and God will give to you”) The Protestant faith respects individual conscience and a person’s right to make decisions regarding his or her own body. In addition, it is generally not believed that resurrection involves making the physical body whole again.
Seventh-day Adventist Church +
The Seventh-day Adventist Church does not have an official statement on organ donation. However, Loma Linda University Medical Center, a Seventh-day Adventist institution, described as “integrating health, science and Christian faith” and specializes in organ transplantation.
In Shinto, the deceased’s body is considered to be impure and dangerous, and thus quite powerful. In folk belief context, injuring a dead body is a serious crime. To this day it is difficult to obtain consent from bereaved families for organ donation or dissection for medical education or pathological anatomy. The Japanese regard them all in the sense of injuring a dead body. Families are often concerned that they not injure the itai, the relationship between the dead person and the bereaved people.
The Sikh philosophy and teachings place great emphasis on the importance of giving and putting others before oneself. Sikhs believe life after death is a continuous cycle of rebirth but the physical body is not needed in this cycle, a person’s soul is the real essence.
Southern Baptist Convention +
The Southern Baptist Convention has no official position on organ donation. While Southern Baptists entrust the ultimate decision about organ donation to individual conscience, biblical principles such as the sanctity of human life, sacrificial and selfless Christlike love, and the compassionate alleviation of suffering would appear to justify organ donation.
Society of Friends (Quakers) +
Organ and tissue donation is believed to be an individual decision. The Society of Friends does not have an official position on donation.
Unitarian Universalist +
Organ and tissue donation is widely supported by Unitarian Universalists. They view it as an act of love and selfless giving. The UUA has no official position on organ and tissue donation. It is up to each person to decide what is appropriate.
United Church of Christ +
United Church of Christ people, churches, and agencies are extremely and overwhelmingly supportive of organ sharing,” writes the Rev. Jay Lintner, director, Washington Office of the United Church of Christ Office for Church in Society. Similarly, any organized effort to get the General Synod delegates or individual churches to sign organ donation cards would meet with generally positive responses.
United Methodist Church +
The United Methodists, as with several religions, believe that organ and tissue donation is an act of charity and that preserving life takes precedence over any beliefs that govern the treatment of the dead.
Source: United Network for Organ Sharing