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Saturday, June 26, 2010

Cultural and Religious Perspectives on Organ and Tissue Donation

Below is information taken from a document created by Trillium Gift of Life to share with those wishing to learn more about cultural and religious perspectives on organ and tissue donation. This is not intended to be conclusive, your own beliefs are exactly that, your own. I do not intend to offend anyone, this is for information only. Any questions you have related to this information, please discuss them with your religious leader and/or Trillium Gift of Life at

Trillium Gift of Life Network
522 University Avenue, Suite 900
Toronto ON M5G 1W7
Telephone: (416) 363-4001 or 1-800-263-2833
Email: info@giftoflife.on.ca
Web: www.giftoflife.on.ca

Culture and religion play a significant role in end-of-life experiences, including how people respond to illness, how grief is demonstrated, what rituals are important at the time of death and which members of the family are present.

Most major religions support organ and tissue donation as an honoured and compassionate expression of generosity and love. Beliefs about tissue donation vary as some groups may consider tissue donation life enhancing, and distinguish it from organ donation, which is more often life-saving.

Amish consent to donation when it benefits the health and welfare of the transplant recipient. They are reluctant to donate if the transplant is unlikely to succeed or if organs will be used for research.

With this religion, organ and tissue donation is a matter of individual choice.

Buddhists have no official position on organ or tissue donation. It is a matter of personal choice and of the attitude of each school or tradition of Buddhism.
The Southern tradition permits autopsies and organ/tissue transplants; they believe that rebirth occurs immediately when a person dies. The Northern tradition believes that there is an intermediate state between "incarnations". They avoid movement or touching of the body for eight hours.

Catholics encourage donation as an act of charity, and as a decision that belongs to each individual. There should be no undue pressure on someone to donate an organ. Ethical considerations must be taken into account. There can be no commercialization of human organs.

Christian Science
There is respect for an individual's choice.

They are traditionally against organ donation, but brain death was formally recognized in Korea in 2000 for the purpose of organ donation. There should be no damage to the body as a whole.

There are no restrictions on giving organs or tissues for transplant.

Greek Orthodox
The group supports donation of organs and tissues.

Adherents to Islam strongly believe in the principle of saving human life. Followers permit organ transplantation as a priority in saving human lives - as long as the human body is respected and treated with dignity, and the sanctity and protection of human life are paramount; a person must give freely and without undue pressure, for the purposes of saving a person's life or to enable someone to perform an essential life function.

Jehovah's Witness
Donation is a matter of individual choice. All blood must be removed from organs prior to transplant.

All four branches of Judaism support and encourage organ and tissue donation. Within Judaism, there is a general principle that the "saving of human life takes precedence over all other laws," including any delay in burial.
Organ and tissue donation is encouraged not only "for humanity's sake," but also "for God's sake, as a supreme expression of Godliness, of true, ultimate sharing: a religious act par excellence."

Donation is encouraged. There are no restrictions.

With Mormonism, the decision to donate an organ is a personal choice.

Organ donation is allowed and encouraged.

With Protestantism, there is respect for individual choice.

Seventh Day Adventist
The group strongly encourages donation and transplantation.

Followers are extremely cautious with regard to organ and tissue donation; families are concerned that they do not injure the "itai" - the relationship between the dead person and the bereaved family.

Sikh philosophy and teaching place great emphasis on the importance of selfless service to others, and the performance of "noble deeds." The belief is "the physical body is a temporary abode of a person's soul, and it is the soul that is one's real essence." Organ and tissue donation is supported.

There are no objections to the use of parts of the body after death.

1 comment:

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