Fact vs Fiction

Despite continuing efforts to educate the public, misconceptions and inaccuracies about donation persist. It’s a tragedy if even one person decides against donation based on misinformation. The following is a list of the most common myths along with the actual facts:

If doctors know I'm a registered organ, eye and tissue donor they won't work as hard to save me.

Your life always comes first. If you are sick or injured and taken to a hospital, the doctors' and nurses' first priority is always to save your life. Donation is only considered after death has been declared.

I can’t donate because I’m too old.

There are no age limitations on who can donate. The decision on whether you can donate depends on your physical condition, not age. 

I can’t register as an organ, eye and tissue donor because I have too many medical conditions.

Everyone should consider themselves a potential donor, regardless of previous medical conditions. Medical professionals evaluate each patient at the time of death and determine if your organs, eyes or tissues are medically suitable for donation.

If I agree to organ, eye and tissue donation, my family will have to pay for the medical costs.

Your family will never have to pay for costs associated with organ, eye and tissue donation. Costs related to donation are paid by the recipient, usually through insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid.

If I donate my organs, eyes or tissues, I won’t be able to have an open casket funeral.

Throughout the process, a donor’s body is treated with respect and dignity. Organs and tissues are recovered in a surgical procedure and all incisions are closed and dressed. Every effort will be made to minimize changes to the physical appearance.

Organ, eye and tissue donation is against my religion.

All major organized religions in the U.S. support or encourage organ, eye and tissue donation and view it as an act of charity or love. Learn more about your religion's position on donation here.

There is real danger of being heavily drugged and waking to find you have had one kidney (or both) removed for a black market transplant.

This tale has been widely circulated over the Internet. There is absolutely no evidence of such activity ever occurring in the U.S. While the tale may sound credible, it has no basis in the reality of organ transplantation. Many people who hear the myth probably dismiss it, but it is possible that some believe it and decide against organ donation out of needless fear.

Someone will pay to take my organs.

The National Organ Transplant Act (Public Law 98-507) makes it illegal to sell human organs and tissues in the United States. Violators are subject to fines and imprisonment. One reason Congress made this law was to make sure the wealthy do not have an unfair advantage for obtaining donated organs and tissues.

I registered as an organ, eye and tissue donor, but my family doesn’t need to know.

Even if you are a registered donor, it is essential that your family know your wishes. Your family may be asked to sign a consent form in order for donation to occur.


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