Get the Facts

“Point. Click. Save Lives.” is Delaware’s statewide campaign for Organ and Tissue Donor Awareness sponsored by Gift of Life Donor Program (GOL) and the Delaware Organ and Tissue Donor Awareness Board. This collaboration is an educational and outreach effort to encourage Delawareans to say "yes" to organ and tissue donation. Our efforts are aimed at saving the lives of thousands of Delawareans awaiting life-saving transplants.

Educate yourself and learn how you can give someone a second chance at life:

How do I become a donor?

Two easy ways:
(1) Sign up online now
(2) Check “yes” for organ and tissue donation when you get or renew your driver’s license, learner’s permit or photo ID. Your donor designation will be indicated by a red heart on the front of your license or ID card and in your computer record with the Delaware Department of Transportation. In addition, make sure to share your decision with your loved ones. There is no fee to place the organ donor designation on your driver’s license or photo ID.

 

Who can be a donor?

Anyone can decide to be a donor. If you are under age 18, however, you’ll need a parent or guardian’s signature to have the donor designation placed on your driver’s license, learner’s permit or photo ID card. The ability to donate is determined on a case-by-case basis at the time of death and age is not a prohibiting factor – people as old as 85 have become donors.

What organs and tissues can be donated?

Life-saving organs for transplant include the heart, kidneys, lungs, liver, pancreas, stomach and intestines. Tissues, such as bone, ligaments and tendons, can be donated and are needed to repair injured or diseased joints and bones. Corneas, heart valves, veins and skin may also be donated.

How many people can be helped through donation?

One organ, tissue and corneal donor may directly save or enhance the lives of more than 50 people. Organs can save lives, corneas renew vision, and tissue may help to restore someone's ability to walk, run or move freely without pain. Make your license a license to heal. Sign Up Now!

How many people are currently awaiting an organ transplant?

There are currently over 123,001 people on the national waiting list. Over 400 Delawareans are waiting for an organ transplant.  The number of people requiring a life-saving transplant continues to rise faster than the number of available donors. Approximately 300 new transplant candidates are added to the waiting list each month.

Why are there so many people on the transplant waiting list?

As medical advances grow and transplants become a viable and successful option for treating serious conditions, more people continue to be added to the national waiting list. However, the number of donors is not keeping pace with the ever-growing list of people waiting for organs and tissue. Each day, 18 people in the United States die while waiting for organ transplants and every 12 minutes, another person's name is added to the waiting list. Today, more than 123,001 U.S. patients are awaiting a transplant that will save their lives; hundreds of thousands more hope for life-enhancing tissue transplants. Only 50.02% of Delawareans are registered organ and tissue donors.

What are the steps involved in organ and tissue donation?

Hospitals are required by law to notify the local organ procurement organization (OPO) of the impending death of a patient. The OPO staff will determine if that patient can be a potential organ and/or tissue donor. If the patient is medically suitable, a trained transplant coordinator will visit the hospital to further evaluate the patient and offer the option for donation to the next of kin. Once the family consents, the coordinators work with the national computerized waiting list at UNOS to match the donated organs with the most appropriate recipient(s) and arrange for the recovery surgery. They also stay with the donor's family and provide support as long as the family wishes. Immediately after the organ(s) are surgically removed from the donor, the OPO staff transports the organs to the transplant centers, where the recipients have been readied for surgery.

How are donated organs allocated?

Donated organs go to patients based on match with donor’s height, weight and blood type; medical urgency and time on the waiting list. A person’s age, gender, race, ethnic origin or wealth do not affect who receives available organs.

How are recipients matched to donors?

Individuals waiting for transplants are listed by the transplant center in their area. Their names then go into a national computerized waiting list of potential transplant patients in the United States maintained by the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS). UNOS coordinates a 24-hour, 7 day/week service to match donor organs with patients on the national waiting list and to coordinate efforts with transplant centers. When donor organs become available, the organ procurement organization (such as Gift of Life Donor Program) provides UNOS with information about the medical characteristics of the donor and specific organs, including medical compatibility between the donor and potential recipient(s) on such characteristics as blood type, weight, and height; as well as the recipients' urgency of need; and length of time on waiting list. Also, preference is generally given to recipients from the same geographic area as the donor, because timing is a critical element in the success of transplants.

Can I donate organs to a friends or loved one awaiting a transplant?

National organ allocation guidelines allow families of donors to designate recipients, usually family members or friends. Directed or designated donation, as it is commonly called, is an option. However, successful designated donations are so rare that the United Network for Organ Sharing, the organization that oversees transplants in the United States, does not track them.

Living donation is also an option. If you are interested in donating an organ to a friend or loved one awaiting a transplant, please visit an area transplant center for evaluation. Usually blood type and weight of both the donor and potential recipient play an important role in determining if the organ will be a match for both directed and living donation.

Will health problems or old age keep me from being a donor?

No. Everyone, regardless of age or health, should consider themselves a potential donor. A person’s physical condition, not his or her age, determines potential for organ and tissue donation and is evaluated on a case-by-case basis at the time of death.

Can I sell my organs?

The buying and selling of organs and tissues is illegal, as part of The National Organ Transplant Act (Public Law 98-507).

Will paramedics, doctors and nurses make every effort to save my life if they know I am a donor?

YES -- absolutely. Organ and tissue recovery takes place only after all efforts to save your life have been exhausted and death has been declared. Doctors and nurses will do everything possible to save your life. In fact, the medical team treating you is completely separate from the transplant team and they are dedicated to your complete recovery.

If a person wears glasses, has cataracts or glaucoma, can the person donate corneas?

Yes. Poor vision, cataracts and glaucoma do not eliminate someone's ability to donate. Suitability is evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

Will donation disfigure my body? Can there be an open casket?

Donation does not disfigure the body and will not interfere with customary funeral plans, including those with open-casket viewings.

Will my family have any say about the donation?

In some cases – such as the absence of any documentation of a person’s donation decision, such as a driver’s license or living will, or if someone is under 18 – the final decision about organ and tissue donation is made by the family. We suggest that in all instances it is important to share your decision to donate with your family so that they can understand and honor your decision. If you want to learn how organ donation preferences are documented and honored where you live, contact Gift of Life Donor Program.

Will there be any cost to my family, and will donation affect my funeral plans?

There are no costs to a person’s family for organ and tissue donation. Most transplants are covered by the recipients’ individual health insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid programs. Patients should contact their physicians or health insurance company for more information. Donation does not conflict with cremation or an open-casket funeral.

How do I discuss organ and tissue donation with my family?

Many people are uncomfortable talking about death. Explain to your loved ones how your decision to donate at the time of your death will offer hope and a second chance at life to others whose lives can be saved or enhanced through transplantation.

Does my religion support donation?

All major organized religions support organ and tissue donation – as a way of helping others, as an individual’s right to choose and as an unparalleled gift of generosity and compassion. Find out your religion’s perspective. If you have specific questions, contact your religious advisor.

Why should minorities be particularly concerned about donation?

Some diseases of the kidney, heart, lung, liver and pancreas are prevalent in minority communities and can be treated through transplantation. Successful transplantation is often enhanced by the matching of organs between members of the same ethnic and racial group. More information on Minorities and Organ Donation and Transplantation:

Minority Organ Tissue Transplantation Education Program

United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) Minority Affairs Committee

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health

Can non-resident aliens donate and receive organs?

Non-resident aliens can both donate and receive organs in the United States. During 2002 and 2003, 513 of the 26,090 organ donors were non-resident aliens, or less than two percent. Policies developed by the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) allow up to five percent of recipients at a transplant center to be from other countries. From 1995 to 2002, non-resident aliens accounted for only about one percent of more than 20,000 transplants performed annually. Organ allocation is based on the principles of equity and medical utility with the concept of justice applied to both access (consideration) as well as allocation (distribution).

Myth: Doctors will not try to save my life if they know I want to be a donor.

Truth: Paramedics, doctors and nurses will do everything possible to save your life. The medical staff trying to save lives is completely separate from the transplant team. Donation takes place and transplant surgeons are called in only after all efforts to save a life have been exhausted and death is imminent or has been declared.

Myth: My religion does not approve of donation.

Truth: All organized religions support donation, typically considering it a generous act that is the individual's choice.

Myth: I don't need to tell my family that I'd like to be a donor because it's already written in my will.

Truth: By the time your will is read, it will be too late for you to be a donor. Telling your family now that you want to be an organ and tissue donor is the best way to help them understand your wishes concerning this decision and make certain that your wishes are honored.

Myth: The rich and famous on the U.S. waiting lsit for organs get preferential treatment.

Truth: The organ allocation and distribution system is blind to wealth, social status or race. The computerized matching system selects recipients based on blood and tissue typing, organ size, medical urgency, waiting time, and geographic location.

Myth: Minorities should refuse to donate because organ distribution discriminates by race.

Truth: Organs are matched by factors, including blood and tissue typing, which can vary by race. Patients are more likely to find matches among donors of their same race or ethnicity which is why it’s important for people of all races to become donors.

Myth: I am too old to donate organs and tissues.

Truth: People of all ages may be organ and tissue donors. Physical condition, not age, is important. Sign up now; physicians will decide whether your organs and tissues can be transplanted.

(Note: The general age limit for tissue and eye donation is 80.)

Myth: My family will be charged for donating my organs.

Truth: There are no costs to a person’s family for donation.

Myth: Donation will interfere with my plans for my funeral.

Truth: Donation will not interfere with customary funeral plans, including those with open-casket viewings.

Myth: I have a history of medical illness. You would not want any of my organs.

Truth: At the time of death, the organ procurement organization will review medical and social histories to determine medical suitability. Few illnesses or conditions prevent someone from being a donor.

Myth: Donation will disfigure my body.

Truth: Organs and tissues are removed in procedures similar to surgery, and all incisions are closed at the conclusion of the surgery. Doctors maintain dignity and respect for the donor at all times. An open casket funeral is possible after donation.

Myth: Organs are sold, with enormous profits going to the medical community.

Truth: Federal law prohibits buying and selling organs in the U.S. Violators are punishable by prison sentences and fines.

Myth: I heard about this guy who went to a party, and woke up the next morning in a bathtub full of ice. His kidneys were stolen for sale on the black market!

Truth: There is absolutely no documented case of this ever happening. This story is a hoax and has become a famous, yet harmful, urban myth. Due to the complexity of transplantation, the necessity of involvement from trained medical professionals, the process of matching donors with recipients, the need for highly skilled medical professionals to perform the surgery, the need for modern medical facilities and the support necessary for transplantation make it impossible for this "legend" to actually occur.

Myth: The recipient will know who I am.

Truth: Information about the donor is released to the recipient only if the family of the donor requests or agrees to it. Otherwise, the strictest confidence of patient privacy is maintained for both donor families and recipients.

Myth: I cannot choose what I want to donate.

Truth: You may specify what organs or tissues you want to donate on your donor card. Your wishes will be followed.

Myth: I don't want my organs going to people who didn't take care of their organs.

Truth: Most recipients have illnesses or diseases. People who formerly abused drugs and alcohol make up less than 5 percent of recipients, and must stay sober for five months before being added to the transplant list.

AME & ZION AME

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.

AMISH

The Amish will consent to donation if they know that it is for the health and welfare of the transplant recipient. They would be reluctant to donate their organs if the transplant outcome was known to be questionable. John Hostetler, an authority on Amish religion, says in his book Amish Society, that “The Amish believe that since God created the human body, it is God who heals: however, nothing in the Amish understanding of the Bible forbids them from using modern medical services including surgery, anesthesia, hospitalization, dental work, blood transfusions and immunization.”

ASSEMBLY OF GOD

The Church views the decision to donate as an individual choice. Organ and tissue donation is highly supported by the denomination but the decision to donate is up to the individual.

BAPTIST

The church leaves the decision up to the individual and donation is supported as an act of charity.

BUDDHISM

Buddhists believe that organ and tissue donation is a matter of individual conscience and places high value on acts of compassion. The importance of letting loved ones know your wishes is stressed.

CATHOLICSM

Catholics view organ and tissue donation as an act of charity, love and self-sacrifice. Organ and tissue donation is morally and ethically acceptable. Pope John Paul II stated, “The Catholic Church would promote the fact that there is a need for organ donors and that Christians should accept this as a ‘challenge to their generosity and fraternal love’ so long as ethical principles are followed.”

CHRISTIAN SCIENCE

Christian Scientists normally rely on spiritual means of healing instead of medical. They are free, however, to choose whatever form of medical treatment they desire, including transplants.

CHRISTIAN CHURCH/DISCIPLES OF CHRIST

There are no prohibitions against organ transplants.

CHURCH OF CHRIST/INDEPENDENT

Organ transplants should not be a religious problem.

EPISCOPAL

The Episcopal Church passed a resolution in 1982 that recognizes the life-giving benefits of organ, blood and tissue donation. All Christians are encouraged to become donors “as part of their ministry to others in the name of Christ, who gave his life in its fullness.”

GREEK ORTHODOX

The Church supports donation as a way to better human life in the form of transplantation that would lead to improvements in the treatment and prevention of disease.

HINDUIS

As stated by the Hindu Temple Society of North America, organ and tissue donation is an individual decision and Hindus are not prohibited by religious law from donating their organs or tissues. According to H.L. Trivedi in Transplanting Proceedings, “There is nothing in the Hindu religion indicating that parts of humans could not be used to alleviate the sufferings of other humans.”

INDEPENDENT CONSERVATIVE EVANGELICAL

Generally, Evangelicals have no opposition to organ and tissue donation. Each church is autonomous and leaves the decision to donate up to the individual.

ISLAM

The religion of Islam strongly believes in the principle of saving human lives. According to A. Sachedina in Transplanting Proceedings, “The majority of the Muslim scholars, belonging to various schools of Islamic law, have invoked the principle of priority of saving human life and have permitted the organ transplant as a necessity to procure that noble end.”

JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES

According to the Watch Tower Society, Jehovah’s Witnesses believe donation is a matter of individual decision. Jehovah’s Witnesses are often assumed to be against donation because of the opposition to blood transfusions. However, this merely means that all blood must be removed from organs and tissues before being transplanted.

JUDAISM

There is strong support and encouragement for organ donation within all branches of Judaism. According to many authorities, if one is in a position to donate an organ to save another's life, it is permitted (and some say even obligatory) to do so, even if the donor never knows who the beneficiary will be. The infinite worth of a human being and the imperative to save a life when and where possible is a basic principle of Jewish law and ethics. This can include the donation of corneas since eyesight restoration can be considered a lifesaving operation.

LUTHERAN

Lutherans passed a resolution in 1984 stating that donation contributes to the well-being of humanity and can be “an expression of sacrificial love for a neighbor in need.” They call on “members to consider donating…and to make any necessary family or legal arrangements, including the use of a signed donor card.”

MENNONITE

There is no prohibition against donation and transplantation in the Mennonite faith. Church officials state such decisions are individual ones.

MORMON

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints believes the decision to donate is an individual one made in conjunction with family, medical personnel and prayer. They do no oppose donation.

PRESBYTERIAN

Presbyterians encourage and support donation. They respect a person’s right to make decisions regarding his or her own body.

QUAKERS

Officials for the Quaker faith do not oppose organ donation and transplantation. The decision, they say, is an individual one.

SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTIST

Donation and transplantation are strongly encouraged. In fact, Seventh Day Adventists have many transplant hospitals, including Loma Linda in California which specializes in pediatric heart transplants.

UNITARIAN UNIVERSALIST

Organ and tissue donation is widely supported by Unitarian Universalists who view it as an act of love and selfless giving.

UNITED METHODIST

The Church issued a policy statement saying that the “United Methodist Church 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 His life in its fullness.”

UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST

When advocated by medical practitioners to improve or preserve human life, this procedure is encouraged, providing all appropriate consents are obtained.

Is it the right decision?

You may have questions and reservations about becoming an organ donor, especially concerning how your religion views your decision. In fact, all major religions support organ and tissue donation – as a way of helping others, as an individual’s right to choose and as an unparalleled gift of generosity and compassion.

You may also have concerns about customary funeral or memorial arrangements if you become a donor. However, organ and tissue donation does not interfere with traditional funeral plans, including those with open-casket viewings. In addition, your loved ones will not incur any costs simply because you are an organ donor.

Choosing to Give the Greatest Gift

Modern medicine, supported by ancient religious beliefs, provides each of us with an extraordinary opportunity to perform the supreme act of charity – to save another human being’s life.

Today, you can make a choice to give hope, healing and life – the greatest gift of all – by becoming an organ and tissue donor. More than 420 Delawareans– men, women and children of all ages – wait for the phone call that can mean the difference between life and death. We invite you to discuss this selfless decision with your religious leaders and family members. Choose to give the gift of life – place the donor designation on your driver’s license, learner's permit or state identification card. Sign Up Now!

Religious Leader Perspectives

“Many devout people believe that God is the creator of all life and has given us bodies which, in a sense, are on loan to enable us to do good. One of the greatest gifts we can give when our body is no longer animated is to pass on the gift of God to another child of God. Our gift helps them to continue giving.”

Bishop Anthony G. Bosco
Bishop Emeritus
Catholic Diocese of Greensburg


“In view of the wonderful advancements made in medical science concerning organ and tissue donation, God has shown favor in this area and I believe that He is pleased when we help to bring forth life and a better quality of life through donation.”

Bishop Ernest C. Morris, Sr. D.D.
Former President
Black Clergy of Philadelphia and Vicinity



“Anyone who saves one life . . . it is as if they have saved an entire world.”

Jewish Law Code
Mishnah,
Sanhedrin 4:5
Provided by Rabbi Robert Rubin
Congregation Beth T’fillah of Overbrook Park



"God calls on us to do unto others as we would have them do unto us. We can answer that call by deciding to be organ and tissue donor.”

Reverend Bonnie Camarda
President
Hispanic Clergy of Philadelphia and Vicinity

How do I become a donor?

Two easy ways:
(1) Sign up online now
(2) Check “yes” for organ and tissue donation when you get or renew your driver’s license, learner’s permit or photo ID. Your donor designation will be indicated by a red heart on the front of your license or ID card and in your computer record with the Delaware Department of Transportation. In addition, make sure to share your decision with your loved ones. There is no fee to place the organ donor designation on your driver’s license or photo ID.

 

Who can be a donor?

Anyone can decide to be a donor. If you are under age 18, however, you’ll need a parent or guardian’s signature to have the donor designation placed on your driver’s license, learner’s permit or photo ID card. The ability to donate is determined on a case-by-case basis at the time of death and age is not a prohibiting factor – people as old as 85 have become donors.

What organs and tissues can be donated?

Life-saving organs for transplant include the heart, kidneys, lungs, liver, pancreas, stomach and intestines. Tissues, such as bone, ligaments and tendons, can be donated and are needed to repair injured or diseased joints and bones. Corneas, heart valves, veins and skin may also be donated.

How many people can be helped through donation?

One organ, tissue and corneal donor may directly save or enhance the lives of more than 50 people. Organs can save lives, corneas renew vision, and tissue may help to restore someone's ability to walk, run or move freely without pain. Make your license a license to heal. Sign Up Now!

How many people are currently awaiting an organ transplant?

There are currently over 123,001 people on the national waiting list. Over 400 Delawareans are waiting for an organ transplant.  The number of people requiring a life-saving transplant continues to rise faster than the number of available donors. Approximately 300 new transplant candidates are added to the waiting list each month.

Why are there so many people on the transplant waiting list?

As medical advances grow and transplants become a viable and successful option for treating serious conditions, more people continue to be added to the national waiting list. However, the number of donors is not keeping pace with the ever-growing list of people waiting for organs and tissue. Each day, 18 people in the United States die while waiting for organ transplants and every 12 minutes, another person's name is added to the waiting list. Today, more than 123,001 U.S. patients are awaiting a transplant that will save their lives; hundreds of thousands more hope for life-enhancing tissue transplants. Only 50.02% of Delawareans are registered organ and tissue donors.

What are the steps involved in organ and tissue donation?

Hospitals are required by law to notify the local organ procurement organization (OPO) of the impending death of a patient. The OPO staff will determine if that patient can be a potential organ and/or tissue donor. If the patient is medically suitable, a trained transplant coordinator will visit the hospital to further evaluate the patient and offer the option for donation to the next of kin. Once the family consents, the coordinators work with the national computerized waiting list at UNOS to match the donated organs with the most appropriate recipient(s) and arrange for the recovery surgery. They also stay with the donor's family and provide support as long as the family wishes. Immediately after the organ(s) are surgically removed from the donor, the OPO staff transports the organs to the transplant centers, where the recipients have been readied for surgery.

How are donated organs allocated?

Donated organs go to patients based on match with donor’s height, weight and blood type; medical urgency and time on the waiting list. A person’s age, gender, race, ethnic origin or wealth do not affect who receives available organs.

How are recipients matched to donors?

Individuals waiting for transplants are listed by the transplant center in their area. Their names then go into a national computerized waiting list of potential transplant patients in the United States maintained by the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS). UNOS coordinates a 24-hour, 7 day/week service to match donor organs with patients on the national waiting list and to coordinate efforts with transplant centers. When donor organs become available, the organ procurement organization (such as Gift of Life Donor Program) provides UNOS with information about the medical characteristics of the donor and specific organs, including medical compatibility between the donor and potential recipient(s) on such characteristics as blood type, weight, and height; as well as the recipients' urgency of need; and length of time on waiting list. Also, preference is generally given to recipients from the same geographic area as the donor, because timing is a critical element in the success of transplants.

Can I donate organs to a friends or loved one awaiting a transplant?

National organ allocation guidelines allow families of donors to designate recipients, usually family members or friends. Directed or designated donation, as it is commonly called, is an option. However, successful designated donations are so rare that the United Network for Organ Sharing, the organization that oversees transplants in the United States, does not track them.

Living donation is also an option. If you are interested in donating an organ to a friend or loved one awaiting a transplant, please visit an area transplant center for evaluation. Usually blood type and weight of both the donor and potential recipient play an important role in determining if the organ will be a match for both directed and living donation.

Will health problems or old age keep me from being a donor?

No. Everyone, regardless of age or health, should consider themselves a potential donor. A person’s physical condition, not his or her age, determines potential for organ and tissue donation and is evaluated on a case-by-case basis at the time of death.

Can I sell my organs?

The buying and selling of organs and tissues is illegal, as part of The National Organ Transplant Act (Public Law 98-507).

Will paramedics, doctors and nurses make every effort to save my life if they know I am a donor?

YES -- absolutely. Organ and tissue recovery takes place only after all efforts to save your life have been exhausted and death has been declared. Doctors and nurses will do everything possible to save your life. In fact, the medical team treating you is completely separate from the transplant team and they are dedicated to your complete recovery.

If a person wears glasses, has cataracts or glaucoma, can the person donate corneas?

Yes. Poor vision, cataracts and glaucoma do not eliminate someone's ability to donate. Suitability is evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

Will donation disfigure my body? Can there be an open casket?

Donation does not disfigure the body and will not interfere with customary funeral plans, including those with open-casket viewings.

Will my family have any say about the donation?

In some cases – such as the absence of any documentation of a person’s donation decision, such as a driver’s license or living will, or if someone is under 18 – the final decision about organ and tissue donation is made by the family. We suggest that in all instances it is important to share your decision to donate with your family so that they can understand and honor your decision. If you want to learn how organ donation preferences are documented and honored where you live, contact Gift of Life Donor Program.

Will there be any cost to my family, and will donation affect my funeral plans?

There are no costs to a person’s family for organ and tissue donation. Most transplants are covered by the recipients’ individual health insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid programs. Patients should contact their physicians or health insurance company for more information. Donation does not conflict with cremation or an open-casket funeral.

How do I discuss organ and tissue donation with my family?

Many people are uncomfortable talking about death. Explain to your loved ones how your decision to donate at the time of your death will offer hope and a second chance at life to others whose lives can be saved or enhanced through transplantation.

Does my religion support donation?

All major organized religions support organ and tissue donation – as a way of helping others, as an individual’s right to choose and as an unparalleled gift of generosity and compassion. Find out your religion’s perspective. If you have specific questions, contact your religious advisor.

Why should minorities be particularly concerned about donation?

Some diseases of the kidney, heart, lung, liver and pancreas are prevalent in minority communities and can be treated through transplantation. Successful transplantation is often enhanced by the matching of organs between members of the same ethnic and racial group. More information on Minorities and Organ Donation and Transplantation:

Minority Organ Tissue Transplantation Education Program

United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) Minority Affairs Committee

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health

Can non-resident aliens donate and receive organs?

Non-resident aliens can both donate and receive organs in the United States. During 2002 and 2003, 513 of the 26,090 organ donors were non-resident aliens, or less than two percent. Policies developed by the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) allow up to five percent of recipients at a transplant center to be from other countries. From 1995 to 2002, non-resident aliens accounted for only about one percent of more than 20,000 transplants performed annually. Organ allocation is based on the principles of equity and medical utility with the concept of justice applied to both access (consideration) as well as allocation (distribution).

Myth: Doctors will not try to save my life if they know I want to be a donor.

Truth: Paramedics, doctors and nurses will do everything possible to save your life. The medical staff trying to save lives is completely separate from the transplant team. Donation takes place and transplant surgeons are called in only after all efforts to save a life have been exhausted and death is imminent or has been declared.

Myth: My religion does not approve of donation.

Truth: All organized religions support donation, typically considering it a generous act that is the individual's choice.

Myth: I don't need to tell my family that I'd like to be a donor because it's already written in my will.

Truth: By the time your will is read, it will be too late for you to be a donor. Telling your family now that you want to be an organ and tissue donor is the best way to help them understand your wishes concerning this decision and make certain that your wishes are honored.

Myth: The rich and famous on the U.S. waiting lsit for organs get preferential treatment.

Truth: The organ allocation and distribution system is blind to wealth, social status or race. The computerized matching system selects recipients based on blood and tissue typing, organ size, medical urgency, waiting time, and geographic location.

Myth: Minorities should refuse to donate because organ distribution discriminates by race.

Truth: Organs are matched by factors, including blood and tissue typing, which can vary by race. Patients are more likely to find matches among donors of their same race or ethnicity which is why it’s important for people of all races to become donors.

Myth: I am too old to donate organs and tissues.

Truth: People of all ages may be organ and tissue donors. Physical condition, not age, is important. Sign up now; physicians will decide whether your organs and tissues can be transplanted.

(Note: The general age limit for tissue and eye donation is 80.)

Myth: My family will be charged for donating my organs.

Truth: There are no costs to a person’s family for donation.

Myth: Donation will interfere with my plans for my funeral.

Truth: Donation will not interfere with customary funeral plans, including those with open-casket viewings.

Myth: I have a history of medical illness. You would not want any of my organs.

Truth: At the time of death, the organ procurement organization will review medical and social histories to determine medical suitability. Few illnesses or conditions prevent someone from being a donor.

Myth: Donation will disfigure my body.

Truth: Organs and tissues are removed in procedures similar to surgery, and all incisions are closed at the conclusion of the surgery. Doctors maintain dignity and respect for the donor at all times. An open casket funeral is possible after donation.

Myth: Organs are sold, with enormous profits going to the medical community.

Truth: Federal law prohibits buying and selling organs in the U.S. Violators are punishable by prison sentences and fines.

Myth: I heard about this guy who went to a party, and woke up the next morning in a bathtub full of ice. His kidneys were stolen for sale on the black market!

Truth: There is absolutely no documented case of this ever happening. This story is a hoax and has become a famous, yet harmful, urban myth. Due to the complexity of transplantation, the necessity of involvement from trained medical professionals, the process of matching donors with recipients, the need for highly skilled medical professionals to perform the surgery, the need for modern medical facilities and the support necessary for transplantation make it impossible for this "legend" to actually occur.

Myth: The recipient will know who I am.

Truth: Information about the donor is released to the recipient only if the family of the donor requests or agrees to it. Otherwise, the strictest confidence of patient privacy is maintained for both donor families and recipients.

Myth: I cannot choose what I want to donate.

Truth: You may specify what organs or tissues you want to donate on your donor card. Your wishes will be followed.

Myth: I don't want my organs going to people who didn't take care of their organs.

Truth: Most recipients have illnesses or diseases. People who formerly abused drugs and alcohol make up less than 5 percent of recipients, and must stay sober for five months before being added to the transplant list.

AME & ZION AME

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.

AMISH

The Amish will consent to donation if they know that it is for the health and welfare of the transplant recipient. They would be reluctant to donate their organs if the transplant outcome was known to be questionable. John Hostetler, an authority on Amish religion, says in his book Amish Society, that “The Amish believe that since God created the human body, it is God who heals: however, nothing in the Amish understanding of the Bible forbids them from using modern medical services including surgery, anesthesia, hospitalization, dental work, blood transfusions and immunization.”

ASSEMBLY OF GOD

The Church views the decision to donate as an individual choice. Organ and tissue donation is highly supported by the denomination but the decision to donate is up to the individual.

BAPTIST

The church leaves the decision up to the individual and donation is supported as an act of charity.

BUDDHISM

Buddhists believe that organ and tissue donation is a matter of individual conscience and places high value on acts of compassion. The importance of letting loved ones know your wishes is stressed.

CATHOLICSM

Catholics view organ and tissue donation as an act of charity, love and self-sacrifice. Organ and tissue donation is morally and ethically acceptable. Pope John Paul II stated, “The Catholic Church would promote the fact that there is a need for organ donors and that Christians should accept this as a ‘challenge to their generosity and fraternal love’ so long as ethical principles are followed.”

CHRISTIAN SCIENCE

Christian Scientists normally rely on spiritual means of healing instead of medical. They are free, however, to choose whatever form of medical treatment they desire, including transplants.

CHRISTIAN CHURCH/DISCIPLES OF CHRIST

There are no prohibitions against organ transplants.

CHURCH OF CHRIST/INDEPENDENT

Organ transplants should not be a religious problem.

EPISCOPAL

The Episcopal Church passed a resolution in 1982 that recognizes the life-giving benefits of organ, blood and tissue donation. All Christians are encouraged to become donors “as part of their ministry to others in the name of Christ, who gave his life in its fullness.”

GREEK ORTHODOX

The Church supports donation as a way to better human life in the form of transplantation that would lead to improvements in the treatment and prevention of disease.

HINDUIS

As stated by the Hindu Temple Society of North America, organ and tissue donation is an individual decision and Hindus are not prohibited by religious law from donating their organs or tissues. According to H.L. Trivedi in Transplanting Proceedings, “There is nothing in the Hindu religion indicating that parts of humans could not be used to alleviate the sufferings of other humans.”

INDEPENDENT CONSERVATIVE EVANGELICAL

Generally, Evangelicals have no opposition to organ and tissue donation. Each church is autonomous and leaves the decision to donate up to the individual.

ISLAM

The religion of Islam strongly believes in the principle of saving human lives. According to A. Sachedina in Transplanting Proceedings, “The majority of the Muslim scholars, belonging to various schools of Islamic law, have invoked the principle of priority of saving human life and have permitted the organ transplant as a necessity to procure that noble end.”

JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES

According to the Watch Tower Society, Jehovah’s Witnesses believe donation is a matter of individual decision. Jehovah’s Witnesses are often assumed to be against donation because of the opposition to blood transfusions. However, this merely means that all blood must be removed from organs and tissues before being transplanted.

JUDAISM

There is strong support and encouragement for organ donation within all branches of Judaism. According to many authorities, if one is in a position to donate an organ to save another's life, it is permitted (and some say even obligatory) to do so, even if the donor never knows who the beneficiary will be. The infinite worth of a human being and the imperative to save a life when and where possible is a basic principle of Jewish law and ethics. This can include the donation of corneas since eyesight restoration can be considered a lifesaving operation.

LUTHERAN

Lutherans passed a resolution in 1984 stating that donation contributes to the well-being of humanity and can be “an expression of sacrificial love for a neighbor in need.” They call on “members to consider donating…and to make any necessary family or legal arrangements, including the use of a signed donor card.”

MENNONITE

There is no prohibition against donation and transplantation in the Mennonite faith. Church officials state such decisions are individual ones.

MORMON

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints believes the decision to donate is an individual one made in conjunction with family, medical personnel and prayer. They do no oppose donation.

PRESBYTERIAN

Presbyterians encourage and support donation. They respect a person’s right to make decisions regarding his or her own body.

QUAKERS

Officials for the Quaker faith do not oppose organ donation and transplantation. The decision, they say, is an individual one.

SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTIST

Donation and transplantation are strongly encouraged. In fact, Seventh Day Adventists have many transplant hospitals, including Loma Linda in California which specializes in pediatric heart transplants.

UNITARIAN UNIVERSALIST

Organ and tissue donation is widely supported by Unitarian Universalists who view it as an act of love and selfless giving.

UNITED METHODIST

The Church issued a policy statement saying that the “United Methodist Church 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 His life in its fullness.”

UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST

When advocated by medical practitioners to improve or preserve human life, this procedure is encouraged, providing all appropriate consents are obtained.

Is it the right decision?

You may have questions and reservations about becoming an organ donor, especially concerning how your religion views your decision. In fact, all major religions support organ and tissue donation – as a way of helping others, as an individual’s right to choose and as an unparalleled gift of generosity and compassion.

You may also have concerns about customary funeral or memorial arrangements if you become a donor. However, organ and tissue donation does not interfere with traditional funeral plans, including those with open-casket viewings. In addition, your loved ones will not incur any costs simply because you are an organ donor.

Choosing to Give the Greatest Gift

Modern medicine, supported by ancient religious beliefs, provides each of us with an extraordinary opportunity to perform the supreme act of charity – to save another human being’s life.

Today, you can make a choice to give hope, healing and life – the greatest gift of all – by becoming an organ and tissue donor. More than 420 Delawareans– men, women and children of all ages – wait for the phone call that can mean the difference between life and death. We invite you to discuss this selfless decision with your religious leaders and family members. Choose to give the gift of life – place the donor designation on your driver’s license, learner's permit or state identification card. Sign Up Now!

Religious Leader Perspectives

“Many devout people believe that God is the creator of all life and has given us bodies which, in a sense, are on loan to enable us to do good. One of the greatest gifts we can give when our body is no longer animated is to pass on the gift of God to another child of God. Our gift helps them to continue giving.”

Bishop Anthony G. Bosco
Bishop Emeritus
Catholic Diocese of Greensburg


“In view of the wonderful advancements made in medical science concerning organ and tissue donation, God has shown favor in this area and I believe that He is pleased when we help to bring forth life and a better quality of life through donation.”

Bishop Ernest C. Morris, Sr. D.D.
Former President
Black Clergy of Philadelphia and Vicinity



“Anyone who saves one life . . . it is as if they have saved an entire world.”

Jewish Law Code
Mishnah,
Sanhedrin 4:5
Provided by Rabbi Robert Rubin
Congregation Beth T’fillah of Overbrook Park



"God calls on us to do unto others as we would have them do unto us. We can answer that call by deciding to be organ and tissue donor.”

Reverend Bonnie Camarda
President
Hispanic Clergy of Philadelphia and Vicinity

How do I become a donor?

Two easy ways:
(1) Sign up online now
(2) Check “yes” for organ and tissue donation when you get or renew your driver’s license, learner’s permit or photo ID. Your donor designation will be indicated by a red heart on the front of your license or ID card and in your computer record with the Delaware Department of Transportation. In addition, make sure to share your decision with your loved ones. There is no fee to place the organ donor designation on your driver’s license or photo ID.

 

Who can be a donor?

Anyone can decide to be a donor. If you are under age 18, however, you’ll need a parent or guardian’s signature to have the donor designation placed on your driver’s license, learner’s permit or photo ID card. The ability to donate is determined on a case-by-case basis at the time of death and age is not a prohibiting factor – people as old as 85 have become donors.

What organs and tissues can be donated?

Life-saving organs for transplant include the heart, kidneys, lungs, liver, pancreas, stomach and intestines. Tissues, such as bone, ligaments and tendons, can be donated and are needed to repair injured or diseased joints and bones. Corneas, heart valves, veins and skin may also be donated.

How many people can be helped through donation?

One organ, tissue and corneal donor may directly save or enhance the lives of more than 50 people. Organs can save lives, corneas renew vision, and tissue may help to restore someone's ability to walk, run or move freely without pain. Make your license a license to heal. Sign Up Now!

How many people are currently awaiting an organ transplant?

There are currently over 123,001 people on the national waiting list. Over 400 Delawareans are waiting for an organ transplant.  The number of people requiring a life-saving transplant continues to rise faster than the number of available donors. Approximately 300 new transplant candidates are added to the waiting list each month.

Why are there so many people on the transplant waiting list?

As medical advances grow and transplants become a viable and successful option for treating serious conditions, more people continue to be added to the national waiting list. However, the number of donors is not keeping pace with the ever-growing list of people waiting for organs and tissue. Each day, 18 people in the United States die while waiting for organ transplants and every 12 minutes, another person's name is added to the waiting list. Today, more than 123,001 U.S. patients are awaiting a transplant that will save their lives; hundreds of thousands more hope for life-enhancing tissue transplants. Only 50.02% of Delawareans are registered organ and tissue donors.

What are the steps involved in organ and tissue donation?

Hospitals are required by law to notify the local organ procurement organization (OPO) of the impending death of a patient. The OPO staff will determine if that patient can be a potential organ and/or tissue donor. If the patient is medically suitable, a trained transplant coordinator will visit the hospital to further evaluate the patient and offer the option for donation to the next of kin. Once the family consents, the coordinators work with the national computerized waiting list at UNOS to match the donated organs with the most appropriate recipient(s) and arrange for the recovery surgery. They also stay with the donor's family and provide support as long as the family wishes. Immediately after the organ(s) are surgically removed from the donor, the OPO staff transports the organs to the transplant centers, where the recipients have been readied for surgery.

How are donated organs allocated?

Donated organs go to patients based on match with donor’s height, weight and blood type; medical urgency and time on the waiting list. A person’s age, gender, race, ethnic origin or wealth do not affect who receives available organs.

How are recipients matched to donors?

Individuals waiting for transplants are listed by the transplant center in their area. Their names then go into a national computerized waiting list of potential transplant patients in the United States maintained by the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS). UNOS coordinates a 24-hour, 7 day/week service to match donor organs with patients on the national waiting list and to coordinate efforts with transplant centers. When donor organs become available, the organ procurement organization (such as Gift of Life Donor Program) provides UNOS with information about the medical characteristics of the donor and specific organs, including medical compatibility between the donor and potential recipient(s) on such characteristics as blood type, weight, and height; as well as the recipients' urgency of need; and length of time on waiting list. Also, preference is generally given to recipients from the same geographic area as the donor, because timing is a critical element in the success of transplants.

Can I donate organs to a friends or loved one awaiting a transplant?

National organ allocation guidelines allow families of donors to designate recipients, usually family members or friends. Directed or designated donation, as it is commonly called, is an option. However, successful designated donations are so rare that the United Network for Organ Sharing, the organization that oversees transplants in the United States, does not track them.

Living donation is also an option. If you are interested in donating an organ to a friend or loved one awaiting a transplant, please visit an area transplant center for evaluation. Usually blood type and weight of both the donor and potential recipient play an important role in determining if the organ will be a match for both directed and living donation.

Will health problems or old age keep me from being a donor?

No. Everyone, regardless of age or health, should consider themselves a potential donor. A person’s physical condition, not his or her age, determines potential for organ and tissue donation and is evaluated on a case-by-case basis at the time of death.

Can I sell my organs?

The buying and selling of organs and tissues is illegal, as part of The National Organ Transplant Act (Public Law 98-507).

Will paramedics, doctors and nurses make every effort to save my life if they know I am a donor?

YES -- absolutely. Organ and tissue recovery takes place only after all efforts to save your life have been exhausted and death has been declared. Doctors and nurses will do everything possible to save your life. In fact, the medical team treating you is completely separate from the transplant team and they are dedicated to your complete recovery.

If a person wears glasses, has cataracts or glaucoma, can the person donate corneas?

Yes. Poor vision, cataracts and glaucoma do not eliminate someone's ability to donate. Suitability is evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

Will donation disfigure my body? Can there be an open casket?

Donation does not disfigure the body and will not interfere with customary funeral plans, including those with open-casket viewings.

Will my family have any say about the donation?

In some cases – such as the absence of any documentation of a person’s donation decision, such as a driver’s license or living will, or if someone is under 18 – the final decision about organ and tissue donation is made by the family. We suggest that in all instances it is important to share your decision to donate with your family so that they can understand and honor your decision. If you want to learn how organ donation preferences are documented and honored where you live, contact Gift of Life Donor Program.

Will there be any cost to my family, and will donation affect my funeral plans?

There are no costs to a person’s family for organ and tissue donation. Most transplants are covered by the recipients’ individual health insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid programs. Patients should contact their physicians or health insurance company for more information. Donation does not conflict with cremation or an open-casket funeral.

How do I discuss organ and tissue donation with my family?

Many people are uncomfortable talking about death. Explain to your loved ones how your decision to donate at the time of your death will offer hope and a second chance at life to others whose lives can be saved or enhanced through transplantation.

Does my religion support donation?

All major organized religions support organ and tissue donation – as a way of helping others, as an individual’s right to choose and as an unparalleled gift of generosity and compassion. Find out your religion’s perspective. If you have specific questions, contact your religious advisor.

Why should minorities be particularly concerned about donation?

Some diseases of the kidney, heart, lung, liver and pancreas are prevalent in minority communities and can be treated through transplantation. Successful transplantation is often enhanced by the matching of organs between members of the same ethnic and racial group. More information on Minorities and Organ Donation and Transplantation:

Minority Organ Tissue Transplantation Education Program

United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) Minority Affairs Committee

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health

Can non-resident aliens donate and receive organs?

Non-resident aliens can both donate and receive organs in the United States. During 2002 and 2003, 513 of the 26,090 organ donors were non-resident aliens, or less than two percent. Policies developed by the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) allow up to five percent of recipients at a transplant center to be from other countries. From 1995 to 2002, non-resident aliens accounted for only about one percent of more than 20,000 transplants performed annually. Organ allocation is based on the principles of equity and medical utility with the concept of justice applied to both access (consideration) as well as allocation (distribution).

Myth: Doctors will not try to save my life if they know I want to be a donor.

Truth: Paramedics, doctors and nurses will do everything possible to save your life. The medical staff trying to save lives is completely separate from the transplant team. Donation takes place and transplant surgeons are called in only after all efforts to save a life have been exhausted and death is imminent or has been declared.

Myth: My religion does not approve of donation.

Truth: All organized religions support donation, typically considering it a generous act that is the individual's choice.

Myth: I don't need to tell my family that I'd like to be a donor because it's already written in my will.

Truth: By the time your will is read, it will be too late for you to be a donor. Telling your family now that you want to be an organ and tissue donor is the best way to help them understand your wishes concerning this decision and make certain that your wishes are honored.

Myth: The rich and famous on the U.S. waiting lsit for organs get preferential treatment.

Truth: The organ allocation and distribution system is blind to wealth, social status or race. The computerized matching system selects recipients based on blood and tissue typing, organ size, medical urgency, waiting time, and geographic location.

Myth: Minorities should refuse to donate because organ distribution discriminates by race.

Truth: Organs are matched by factors, including blood and tissue typing, which can vary by race. Patients are more likely to find matches among donors of their same race or ethnicity which is why it’s important for people of all races to become donors.

Myth: I am too old to donate organs and tissues.

Truth: People of all ages may be organ and tissue donors. Physical condition, not age, is important. Sign up now; physicians will decide whether your organs and tissues can be transplanted.

(Note: The general age limit for tissue and eye donation is 80.)

Myth: My family will be charged for donating my organs.

Truth: There are no costs to a person’s family for donation.

Myth: Donation will interfere with my plans for my funeral.

Truth: Donation will not interfere with customary funeral plans, including those with open-casket viewings.

Myth: I have a history of medical illness. You would not want any of my organs.

Truth: At the time of death, the organ procurement organization will review medical and social histories to determine medical suitability. Few illnesses or conditions prevent someone from being a donor.

Myth: Donation will disfigure my body.

Truth: Organs and tissues are removed in procedures similar to surgery, and all incisions are closed at the conclusion of the surgery. Doctors maintain dignity and respect for the donor at all times. An open casket funeral is possible after donation.

Myth: Organs are sold, with enormous profits going to the medical community.

Truth: Federal law prohibits buying and selling organs in the U.S. Violators are punishable by prison sentences and fines.

Myth: I heard about this guy who went to a party, and woke up the next morning in a bathtub full of ice. His kidneys were stolen for sale on the black market!

Truth: There is absolutely no documented case of this ever happening. This story is a hoax and has become a famous, yet harmful, urban myth. Due to the complexity of transplantation, the necessity of involvement from trained medical professionals, the process of matching donors with recipients, the need for highly skilled medical professionals to perform the surgery, the need for modern medical facilities and the support necessary for transplantation make it impossible for this "legend" to actually occur.

Myth: The recipient will know who I am.

Truth: Information about the donor is released to the recipient only if the family of the donor requests or agrees to it. Otherwise, the strictest confidence of patient privacy is maintained for both donor families and recipients.

Myth: I cannot choose what I want to donate.

Truth: You may specify what organs or tissues you want to donate on your donor card. Your wishes will be followed.

Myth: I don't want my organs going to people who didn't take care of their organs.

Truth: Most recipients have illnesses or diseases. People who formerly abused drugs and alcohol make up less than 5 percent of recipients, and must stay sober for five months before being added to the transplant list.

AME & ZION AME

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.

AMISH

The Amish will consent to donation if they know that it is for the health and welfare of the transplant recipient. They would be reluctant to donate their organs if the transplant outcome was known to be questionable. John Hostetler, an authority on Amish religion, says in his book Amish Society, that “The Amish believe that since God created the human body, it is God who heals: however, nothing in the Amish understanding of the Bible forbids them from using modern medical services including surgery, anesthesia, hospitalization, dental work, blood transfusions and immunization.”

ASSEMBLY OF GOD

The Church views the decision to donate as an individual choice. Organ and tissue donation is highly supported by the denomination but the decision to donate is up to the individual.

BAPTIST

The church leaves the decision up to the individual and donation is supported as an act of charity.

BUDDHISM

Buddhists believe that organ and tissue donation is a matter of individual conscience and places high value on acts of compassion. The importance of letting loved ones know your wishes is stressed.

CATHOLICSM

Catholics view organ and tissue donation as an act of charity, love and self-sacrifice. Organ and tissue donation is morally and ethically acceptable. Pope John Paul II stated, “The Catholic Church would promote the fact that there is a need for organ donors and that Christians should accept this as a ‘challenge to their generosity and fraternal love’ so long as ethical principles are followed.”

CHRISTIAN SCIENCE

Christian Scientists normally rely on spiritual means of healing instead of medical. They are free, however, to choose whatever form of medical treatment they desire, including transplants.

CHRISTIAN CHURCH/DISCIPLES OF CHRIST

There are no prohibitions against organ transplants.

CHURCH OF CHRIST/INDEPENDENT

Organ transplants should not be a religious problem.

EPISCOPAL

The Episcopal Church passed a resolution in 1982 that recognizes the life-giving benefits of organ, blood and tissue donation. All Christians are encouraged to become donors “as part of their ministry to others in the name of Christ, who gave his life in its fullness.”

GREEK ORTHODOX

The Church supports donation as a way to better human life in the form of transplantation that would lead to improvements in the treatment and prevention of disease.

HINDUIS

As stated by the Hindu Temple Society of North America, organ and tissue donation is an individual decision and Hindus are not prohibited by religious law from donating their organs or tissues. According to H.L. Trivedi in Transplanting Proceedings, “There is nothing in the Hindu religion indicating that parts of humans could not be used to alleviate the sufferings of other humans.”

INDEPENDENT CONSERVATIVE EVANGELICAL

Generally, Evangelicals have no opposition to organ and tissue donation. Each church is autonomous and leaves the decision to donate up to the individual.

ISLAM

The religion of Islam strongly believes in the principle of saving human lives. According to A. Sachedina in Transplanting Proceedings, “The majority of the Muslim scholars, belonging to various schools of Islamic law, have invoked the principle of priority of saving human life and have permitted the organ transplant as a necessity to procure that noble end.”

JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES

According to the Watch Tower Society, Jehovah’s Witnesses believe donation is a matter of individual decision. Jehovah’s Witnesses are often assumed to be against donation because of the opposition to blood transfusions. However, this merely means that all blood must be removed from organs and tissues before being transplanted.

JUDAISM

There is strong support and encouragement for organ donation within all branches of Judaism. According to many authorities, if one is in a position to donate an organ to save another's life, it is permitted (and some say even obligatory) to do so, even if the donor never knows who the beneficiary will be. The infinite worth of a human being and the imperative to save a life when and where possible is a basic principle of Jewish law and ethics. This can include the donation of corneas since eyesight restoration can be considered a lifesaving operation.

LUTHERAN

Lutherans passed a resolution in 1984 stating that donation contributes to the well-being of humanity and can be “an expression of sacrificial love for a neighbor in need.” They call on “members to consider donating…and to make any necessary family or legal arrangements, including the use of a signed donor card.”

MENNONITE

There is no prohibition against donation and transplantation in the Mennonite faith. Church officials state such decisions are individual ones.

MORMON

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints believes the decision to donate is an individual one made in conjunction with family, medical personnel and prayer. They do no oppose donation.

PRESBYTERIAN

Presbyterians encourage and support donation. They respect a person’s right to make decisions regarding his or her own body.

QUAKERS

Officials for the Quaker faith do not oppose organ donation and transplantation. The decision, they say, is an individual one.

SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTIST

Donation and transplantation are strongly encouraged. In fact, Seventh Day Adventists have many transplant hospitals, including Loma Linda in California which specializes in pediatric heart transplants.

UNITARIAN UNIVERSALIST

Organ and tissue donation is widely supported by Unitarian Universalists who view it as an act of love and selfless giving.

UNITED METHODIST

The Church issued a policy statement saying that the “United Methodist Church 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 His life in its fullness.”

UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST

When advocated by medical practitioners to improve or preserve human life, this procedure is encouraged, providing all appropriate consents are obtained.

Is it the right decision?

You may have questions and reservations about becoming an organ donor, especially concerning how your religion views your decision. In fact, all major religions support organ and tissue donation – as a way of helping others, as an individual’s right to choose and as an unparalleled gift of generosity and compassion.

You may also have concerns about customary funeral or memorial arrangements if you become a donor. However, organ and tissue donation does not interfere with traditional funeral plans, including those with open-casket viewings. In addition, your loved ones will not incur any costs simply because you are an organ donor.

Choosing to Give the Greatest Gift

Modern medicine, supported by ancient religious beliefs, provides each of us with an extraordinary opportunity to perform the supreme act of charity – to save another human being’s life.

Today, you can make a choice to give hope, healing and life – the greatest gift of all – by becoming an organ and tissue donor. More than 420 Delawareans– men, women and children of all ages – wait for the phone call that can mean the difference between life and death. We invite you to discuss this selfless decision with your religious leaders and family members. Choose to give the gift of life – place the donor designation on your driver’s license, learner's permit or state identification card. Sign Up Now!

Religious Leader Perspectives

“Many devout people believe that God is the creator of all life and has given us bodies which, in a sense, are on loan to enable us to do good. One of the greatest gifts we can give when our body is no longer animated is to pass on the gift of God to another child of God. Our gift helps them to continue giving.”

Bishop Anthony G. Bosco
Bishop Emeritus
Catholic Diocese of Greensburg


“In view of the wonderful advancements made in medical science concerning organ and tissue donation, God has shown favor in this area and I believe that He is pleased when we help to bring forth life and a better quality of life through donation.”

Bishop Ernest C. Morris, Sr. D.D.
Former President
Black Clergy of Philadelphia and Vicinity



“Anyone who saves one life . . . it is as if they have saved an entire world.”

Jewish Law Code
Mishnah,
Sanhedrin 4:5
Provided by Rabbi Robert Rubin
Congregation Beth T’fillah of Overbrook Park



"God calls on us to do unto others as we would have them do unto us. We can answer that call by deciding to be organ and tissue donor.”

Reverend Bonnie Camarda
President
Hispanic Clergy of Philadelphia and Vicinity