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Transplant and Religion

Transplant and Religion - Departments & Programs, UW Medical Foundation, Patient Resources, Social Work Services Quick Guide, Social Work Manual, Cultural Competence and Congruence, Religion & Spirituality

Focus

Amish: Transplantation is acceptable if it’s for the welfare of the recipient. Donation would be acceptable if a positive outcome was likely, and unacceptable if the outcome was known to be questionable

Baha’i: Transplantation and donation are acceptable.

Baptist: Transplantation is acceptable and donation is an individual decision.

Buddhism: Transplantation and donation are matters of individual conscience. However, there are many traditions within Buddhism, and some require elaborate rituals after death that could preclude donation.

Christian Science: Transplantation and donation are individual decisions. Although Christian Scientists prefer to rely on spiritual rather than medical means of healing, individuals are free to choose whatever medical treatments they desire.

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon): Transplantation and donation are individual decisions.

Episcopal Church: Transplantation is acceptable only when needed. Donation is encouraged, but the ultimate disposal of the body parts should be done reverently.

Evangelical Covenant Church: Transplantation and donation are acceptable, and members are encouraged to sign and carry organ donor cards.

Greek Orthodox Church: Transplantation is acceptable. Donation is acceptable only if the organs are used for transplants, not if they are used for research or experimentation.

Gypsies: The Gypsies are a set of ethnic groups that do not have an exclusive religion. In general, however, the Gypsies are opposed to both transplantation and donation.

Hinduism: Transplantation and donation are acceptable.

Islam: Transplantation is acceptable. While the Moslem Religions Council initially opposed donation, it has now reversed its position, but requires that donated organs be transplanted immediately and not stored in organ banks.

Jehovah’s Witnesses: Transplantation and donation may be acceptable, however, all organs must be completely drained of blood before transplantation.

Judaism: Transplantation and donation are acceptable, and in fact, if one is in a position to donate an organ to save a life, there is a moral obligation to do so. On the other hand, some branches of Judaism, such as Hasidism, may be reluctant to permit donation, regarding it as defilement of the dead.

Protestant denominations: Because of the wide variety of Protestant denominations, it’s hard to generalize, but for most transplantation is acceptable and donation is a matter of individual decision.

Religious Society of Friends (Quaker): Transplantation and donation are acceptable.

Roman Catholic Church: Transplantation and donation are acceptable.

Unitarian Universalist: Transplantation and donation are acceptable.

United Methodist Church: Transplantation and donation are acceptable.

Even when a religion has no specific prohibition against donation or transplant, there are sometimes cultural barriers to the practice. In Japanese society, for example, cultural taboos have long prohibited organ transplantation, even though Buddhism, Japan’s dominant religion, does not prohibit it.

Finn, R. F. (2000). Organ Transplants: Making the Most of Your Gift of Life. (pp.10-12) California: O’Reilly & Associates.