Organ Donation Myths

The 10 Most Common Myths About Organ Donation

Deciding to donate your organs and tissues is an important decision, often made more difficult by some common misconceptions. We'll walk you through some of the most persistent myths about organ donation and then provide the facts so you can make the decision that's right for you.

Myth 1: You can't be an organ donor if you are very young or very old.

Age won't keep you from becoming a donor.

Young Donors

If you are under 18 years old, consider that:

  • You can decide to donate your organs and tissues.
  • It's important for young people to donate because children need organ transplants, too.
  • Your parents will need to give their consent before you're able to register.

Older Donors

You're never too old to decide to become a donor. Your organs and tissues will be evaluated at the time of death to determine their suitability for donation.

Myth 2: Doctors don't work with the same urgency to save your life if they know you're an organ donor.

Many people are concerned that if they sign up to be an organ donor, they won't get the same level of care should they end up in a life or death situation. However, this is not true.

Your doctor is obligated to have one singular aim: to save your life.

Myth 3: If you are a registered donor, a doctor might declare you dead before it's appropriate.

This is a common myth that scares many people out of registering to donate. However, the opposite is actually true organ donor fact.

Organ donors are given more tests to determine official death than those patients who haven't agreed to organ donation.

Myth 4: Most religions don't condone organ donation.

Most major religions allow organ donation. A few of the religions that support the practice are:

  • Catholicism.
  • Lutheran Church.
  • Mormonism.
  • Judaism.
  • Episcopal Church.
  • Presbyterian Church.

If you are unsure of whether organ donation is consistent with your faith, you may wish to speak with a religious leader for clarification.

Myth 5: If you donate organs or tissues, you can't have an open-casket funeral.

Organ and tissue donation does not keep you from having an open-casket funeral, if that's your preference. Because donors' bodies are clothed for burial, you won't see signs of the donation.

Care is also taken to ensure that:

  • Any signs of bone and skin donation are minimal.
  • Any signs of donation aren't visible once the body is placed in the casket.

Myth 6: If you're not in great health, you shouldn't sign up to be a donor.

You might be surprised to learn that most health conditions won't disqualify you from donating your organs and tissues. While you may not be able to donate certain organs, other organs and/or tissues may be perfectly fine.

Qualified medical professionals will assess your organs at the time of death to determine their suitability for donation.

Myth 7: Your family will be charged when your organs and tissues are donated.

The family of an organ donor is only ever charged for the medical procedures performed in the attempt to save the donor's life.

Costs associated with post-mortem procedures associated with organ donation are not passed down to the donor's family.

Myth 8: If you are rich or famous, you'll be given priority on the waiting list for an organ.

Money and celebrity have no bearing on who gets an organ first. Factors considered are:

  • The time spent on the waiting list.
  • The severity of your condition.
  • Your blood type.
  • Other pertinent medical considerations.

Myth 9: Doctors will take all of your organs, even if you only want to donate one.

You can specify which organs you are willing to donate. Only the organ(s) you identify will be donated.

Myth 10: Organs are sold on the black market.

There are many urban legends involving frightening tales of organs being stolen and sold for profit. The process of donation is so complex and medically involved that this is not actually viable.

A transplant necessitates all of the following:

  • Highly trained doctors.
  • Modern healthcare facilities.
  • Matching of donors to recipients.
  • Other medical support.


Because 18 people a day will die waiting for an organ, becoming an organ and tissue donor is one of the most generous actions you can take. Now that you have the right information, you know that there's little standing in the way of your ability to save someone's life. In fact, you can save up to 8 lives by signing up to register to donate today .

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