Kidney Donors and Faith Communities

PBS | Religion and Ethics News Weekly

Should organ donors of particular religious traditions be able to specify that their donation go only to co-religionists? 

Throughout the U.S. there is a dramatic shortage of people willing to give up one of their organs to save a stranger’s life. It’s a difficult problem for the many patients needing a new kidney, especially among African Americans. 

One solution, as the Orthodox Jewish charity called Renewal has found, is to connect organ donors with sick patients within their own faith communities, which encourages more people to donate. 

Leaders of other faith groups, among them African-American churches, are using the Renewal approach in their own communities in order to encourage more organ donations. But what are the ethics of donating organs only within specific communities of faith rather than to anybody?