You may have already seen the popular PSA out of Argentina that encourages signing up to be an organ donor. If you haven’t, prepare to be moved. This PSA brought all the feels for me, and is another reminder of just how strong that bond is between pets and people. Does it make you want to be an organ donor? For information about pet blood donors, click here.
If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian -- they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.
Can Christians Become Organ Donors?
Defiling the body or ultimate act of charity?
The world is in desperate need of organ donors. There are nearly 115,000 people in the United States alone who are waiting for a lifesaving organ transplant, and a new name is added to that waiting list roughly every 10 minutes. Despite that, less than half of American adults are registered to become organ donors after their deaths. Every organ donor has the potential to save eight lives. Still, there are a large number of people who are hesitant to become organ donors.
Most people who are not organ donors actually would not mind being an organ donor, but they never bother to change their status. Contrary to popular belief, changing from non-donor to a donor is not difficult. For Americans, it can be as easy as checking a different box when renewing a driver’s license. Instead of marking the square saying that they are unwilling to be an organ donor, they simply have to check the box that says they would like to be an organ donor. It takes less than 10 seconds to make the switch. Still, many people simply do not think about altering the information on their driver’s license when they renew it. For that reason, there are numerous websites that enable people to sign up to become organ donors, including OrganDonor.gov, United Network of Organ Sharing and even the DMV online portal. Registering takes less than five minutes, but some people are still skeptical about agreeing to give away their organs after they die.
One reason many people are commonly nervous about agreeing to become an organ donor is that they are worried their faith forbids them from doing so. This is certainly a legitimate concern. Certain religions and religious denominations preclude people from donating their organs. In those faiths, the body is meant to be left intact after death lest the removal of organs impede the soul’s ability to reach the afterlife or rebirth. Many faiths, however, take the exact opposite approach. These religions and denominations feel that organ donation after death is a person’s final act of charity. Living donation, meanwhile, is seen as the ultimate gift to another human being. So, where does Christianity stand on the issue of organ donation?
Christianity is not a monolith. Though all Christians share the same underlying beliefs, there are an enormous number of variations on the underlying doctrine. As such, one denomination may approve of organ donation, while another may not. Overall, Christianity is overwhelmingly accepting or even encouraging of organ donation, but each denomination has a slightly different view on the matter.
Episcopalian and Lutheran
Mennonites, Pentecostals and Mormons
Like Christian Scientists, most people would expect to hear that Jehovah’s Witnesses are opposed to organ donation. Jehovah’s Witnesses, however, are not opposed to organ donation. While they still eschew blood transfusions, they feel that the decision to become an organ donor should be left to individual members as there is nothing in the Bible that specifically comments on organ donation.
Organ donors are desperately needed, and there are no theological obstacles preventing Christians from becoming donors. Christians are encouraged to love selflessly, and there are few ways that one can show that sort of love better than ensuring that they will leave one final gift for the world after death. One of the only gifts that is greater is living donation. Christ Himself gave up His body to save sinners. What better way to emulate that sacrifice than being willing to give up one’s own body to save another?
Coronavirus surge impacting organ donations
As the coronavirus pandemic continues, the Texas Organ Sharing alliance is facing challenges – anyone who tests positive for the virus no longer qualifies to be an organ donor.
Edwina Garza, Senior Communications Coordinator for the Texas Organ Sharing Alliance explains that at the start of the pandemic they began seeing a decline in organ donations.
She explains donations have recently risen back to normal, but COVID-19 patients “ruled out” of being donors.
“In the future, with research they may tell us that it's safe to do an organ recovery from someone who has corona virus but today they don't," Garza said.
She says she hopes the community continues considering becoming an organ donor during a time when families might be on their last strand of emotional support.
Anyone interested in becoming an organ donor can do so by renewing their driver’s license at their local Texas Department of Motor Vehicles office.
For more information watch the video above.
Author contributions: I.H., T.K., and P.S. designed research I.H. and M.P. performed research I.H., T.K., M.P., and P.S. contributed new reagents/analytic tools I.H. and T.K. analyzed data and I.H., T.K., and P.S. wrote the paper.
Reviewers: M.H.B., Harvard University and T.G., Cornell University.
The authors declare no conflict of interest.
↵*This sample was a part of a bigger initial sample of 268 undergraduate students. Approximately 51% of the participants declared to have previously signed the card [which they substantiated by providing their identification (ID) number]. The population of students in general, and in Ben-Gurion University in particular (which is known for its secular majority and pronounced socially aware orientation), seems to be more open to OD than the general public. However, no significant differences were found between the incidence of signers under the three experimental conditions (51% to 51.8%). Results of a pilot study indicated that around 50% of Ben-Gurion University students have signed an OD card in the past. Therefore, our power analysis was computed based on half of the original sample [because the dependent variable (DV) was willingness to sign the card]. Based on χ 2 power analysis α = .05, df = 2, a sample of 130 participants was sufficient to detect a medium effect size (.03) (24).