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Do religious group endorse organ donations?

Katrina Bramstedt, PhD
Health Education

In general, most religious groups are not opposed to organ donation or transplantation. The Amish, however, are generally opposed to heart transplantation because they believe the soul resides in the heart. The Hmong generally are opposed to donation because they believe the body must be completely intact when transported to heaven and reincarnated, thus organs cannot be removed.

What about Jews? Many orthodox Jews support organ donation and transplantation. If you have questions or concerns, rabbis are available for consultation at the Halachic Organ Donor Society, www.HODS.org.

The majority of spiritual and religious groups strongly endorse the act of donating organs or believe it is the donor's right to decide. However, gypsies and Shinto do oppose organ donation. While gypsies do not have a formalized religion, they do have a shared belief system. One of their beliefs is that the body is needed during the first year of a person's afterlife, as a soul retraces its steps. The Amish support organ donation, but only when there's a relative certainty of success for the recipient. They are more reluctant if the likely outcome is questionable. Jehovah's Witnesses do not oppose organ transplantation or donation, provided the organs are first emptied of all blood.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.