Organ Donation Facts and Fiction

Organ Donation: Did You Know?

There are many myths about organ donation. These myths may result in someone not wanting to be a donor. Learn a little more about common myths and whether there is any truth to them.

organ donor

Myth 1: If I have a chronic medical condition, I cannot be a donor.

Fact: Regardless of your medical history, you can sign up to be a donor. There are actually a few conditions in which a donation would not be possible. These include HIV infection, active cancer, or infection that affected the whole body. If a person is listed as a donor, the transplant team will determine if a donation of possible at the time of the donor’s death.

organ donation

Myth 2: If I am at a hospital and the healthcare team sees that I am a donor, they will not try to save my life.

Fact: When a person is admitted to the hospital, the healthcare team’s priority is to take care of the person and save their life if needed. Donation of organs is not part of the conversation until all other lifesaving methods have been used.

Myth 3: People who have a lot of money or are famous get to the top of the waiting list faster than anyone else.

Fact: There is a national computer system that works to match up donors and recipients. The match comes from comparing the donor and medical information of the receiver of the organs. Blood type, type spent waiting, and geographical location all come under consideration as well. How much money a person has, their race, or celebrity status are never used to determine recipients.

organ donor

Myth 4: There are people out there who could take my organs and sell them.

Fact: In the United States, there are federal laws that ban the buying and selling of human organs. A person or company that breaks these laws can be fined or given prison sentences.

Myth 5: If I donate organs, my family cannot have an open casket at the funeral.

Fact: When organs are donated, a body is treated with care throughout the process. In most cases, an open casket funeral is possible for those who donate organs, tissues, and even eyes.

organ donor health bulletin

Donating organs can be a big decision but could save many lives. Don’t let myths about donation stop you from being an organ donor.

Source material from U.S. Government Information on Organ Donation and Transplantation. Written by Nicole Peritore, Kentucky Extension Specialist for Family Health. Edited by Connee Wheeler, Senior Extension Specialist, and Lauren State, Oldham County Extension Staff Assistant. Originally published by Kentucky Extension in the April 2017 Adult Health Bulletin.

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