In honor of National Donate Life Month this April, the National Kidney Foundation sets the record straight on some common organ donation misconceptions. Have you fallen prey to any of these myths? Find out!
- My religion doesn’t approve of organ donation.
- If I check on my driver’s license that I’m an organ donor or sign up for a donor registry, they won’t try as hard to save my life.
- There must be a genetic link between a donor and recipient to ensure a successful transplant.
- I’m willing to donate my kidney, but only for the highest bidder.
- Doctors care more about the organ recipient’s health than the living donor’s health.
FALSE! While there are variations in specific views, most major religions of the world support and even encourage organ donation and transplantation. For a breakdown of specific views held by different religions, visit the A-Z Health Guide.
FALSE! In order for organs to be successfully transplanted, they need continuous access to oxygen. Emergency care professionals must first work to save your life, which in turn will help save your organs. If healthcare providers didn’t first save the patient, there wouldn’t be any potential for organ donation since these outcomes are medically connected. So if anything, your organ donor status is a reason to work even harder to save your life.
FALSE! Thanks to improved immunosuppressant medications, a live organ can come from a family member, good friend, spouse, in-law, or even a stranger.
NO! Under federal law, it is illegal to receive money or gifts in exchange for donating an organ. The cost of a living donor’s evaluation, testing and surgery are generally paid for by the recipient’s Medicare or private health insurance. Time off from work and travel expenses are not covered by Medicare or private insurance, but living donors may be eligible for sick leave, state disability and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
FALSE! The team of healthcare professionals that evaluate potential living donors are completely separate from those of the recipient. The potential donor’s healthcare team is dedicated solely to the donor and to making sure that he or she is going to live a normal, healthy life post-donation. People who wish to donate will not be allowed to do so unless their healthcare team is confident that donation won’t negatively affect their health or lives.