Faith Forum: How do religions view organ donation?


Kathe Sorrentino Wilson lost her 12-year-old son, Gabe, and donated four of his organs. One recipient met Kathe since receiving a donated liver 17 years ago. Marcella Corona/RGJ

April is Donate Life Month. As of April 14, 121,185 people are waiting for an organ, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services website. Twenty-two people will die each day waiting for an organ, and one organ donor can save up to eight lives. Organ transplantation has become an accepted medical treatment for end-stage organ failure. Most major religions in the United States support organ donation and consider donation as the final act of love and generosity toward others.

Organ donation is a very personal yet complex decision, intertwined with medical, legal, religious, cultural, and ethical issues.

Although the majority of religions and denominations back the idea of organ donation as a charitable action of giving and love, the need for organ donors is much higher than the number of actual donors. Religions usually support organ donation because of life-saving capabilities and as an act of charity.

Some, however, restrict types of organs or means of harvesting. Some ask for the donor’s written consent in advance. Few believe that organ donation should be mandatory. Continue reading  VIDEO
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