Church's position on being an organ donor?


#1

Does anyone know the Catholic Church's position on being an organ donor?

I've heard that it's okay, as long as the doctors don't have to kill you to get it, like you could donate eyes or a kidney, but if you want to donate your heart, the doctors don't wait until your dead to operate.

Anything you can find would be very helpful.

Thanks!


#2

The pipe organ is to be held in high esteem in the Latin Church. I would imagine that donors of pipe organs would likewise be held in high esteem by the grateful parishioners. Those are expensive!


#3

I think they keep you on like life support. Doctors aren’t like, “yeah she’s an organ donor, let’s start chopping her up just because she is in a coma.” or anything like that. :slight_smile:


#4

A single kidney, blood or bone marrow (and possibly some other organs) can be obtained safely from a live donor. Everything else, as you suggest, usually requires the prior death of the donor; even the heart.

I think, since the heart is basically autonomous, the doctor waits for the person to stop breathing. Soon afterward, the heart stops, but can be started again if placed into a living person.

I have heard of a situation where a living person was a heart donor. The donor had a good heart but bad lungs and it is easier to transplant heart and lungs as a package than to transplant only a lung, so that is what this person received and the good heart was donated to another person.


#5

[quote="missionarygirl, post:1, topic:333875"]
Does anyone know the Catholic Church's position on being an organ donor?

I've heard that it's okay, as long as the doctors don't have to kill you to get it, like you could donate eyes or a kidney, but if you want to donate your heart, the doctors don't wait until your dead to operate.

Anything you can find would be very helpful.

Thanks!

[/quote]

catholiceducation.org/articles/medical_ethics/me0019.html


#6

This is what it says in the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

2296 Organ transplants are in conformity with the moral law if the physical and psychological dangers and risks to the donor are proportionate to the good that is sought for the recipient. Organ donation after death is a noble and meritorous act and is to be encouraged as an expression of generous solidarity. It is not morally acceptable if the donor or his proxy has not given explicit consent. Moreover, it is not morally admissible directly to bring about the disabling mutilation or death of a human being, even in order to delay the death of other persons.

So it can be okay if certain conditions are met.

I think you may have heard some misinformation about organ donation. Here is an information sheet from the Mayo Clinic about some “myths” regarding organ donation:
info from Mayo Clinic - - Organ donation: Don’t let these myths confuse you
I could also tell you there are only a few things you can donate while still alive. Individuals with two good kidneys may be eligible to donate one of them; you need to keep one for yourself. You may not donate your eyes while alive.

I also read here on Catholic Answers a question and answer regarding organ donation when the patient is brain-dead. This is the only way the donation of the heart or other vital organs could begin while one remains alive in any sense:
Ask an Apologist: Is it morally permissible to remove life support if he is brain dead?
In that Q&A, Fr. Charles Grondin explains “If brain death has taken place and is considered irreversible then it is considered that the person has died. Any medical technology artificially keeping the heart and lungs working can be removed and organ transplants can begin.”

I hope that helps.


#7

Well, pipe organs cost an arm and a leg – which poses an issue probably closer to the OP!


#8

[quote="Elizium23, post:2, topic:333875"]
The pipe organ is to be held in high esteem in the Latin Church. I would imagine that donors of pipe organs would likewise be held in high esteem by the grateful parishioners. Those are expensive!

[/quote]

Well, pipe organs cost an arm and a leg -- which poses an issue probably closer to the OP!

:rotfl:


#9

Thank you all for your responses. These have all been very helpful!


#10

No organ exclusive to our identity…can’t donate or receive testes…
Brain would be ruled out as well.


#11

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