Organ transplant question

So, I was in an interesting and frustrating conversation with someone this weekend. Interesting, because she seemed to have something against, or at least to question, the churches teaching that organ transplant and organ donation after death was okay. Frustrating, because I couldn’t quite get to why she found it problematic. This was partly because our conversation kept getting interrupted. I never answered her, but I think this is the gist of her questions and I’m wondering how others would respond.

The Church teaches that it’s okay to donate your organs; how is this NOT a violation of the dignity of the human person?

The Church believes in the resurrection of the body and therefore does not approve of spreading the ashes of a cremated body, yet the body can be “spread out” through donation of organs? That seems inconsistent.

The Church approves of the removal of organs, but not the removal of an egg (ovum)? (This one was really frustrating as we talked about the reason behind the removal of an organ was to save a life, while an egg was to create and kill a life, but she just couldn’t get it, and I couldn’t quite get her to explain why she found that problematic.:shrug:) She felt the removal of one equaled the same as the other.

The other aspect that seemed to keep coming up was that technology was always advancing, so how could the church say IVF was wrong? What if it developed to the point that every time a child was created, it would implant and grow into a baby?

Feel free to answer any or all. Thanks.


It will be interesting to see the replies. For my :twocents:, it would seem that there are, in fact, some inconsistencies here. For my part, when I die they can take whatever still works and give it to whoever needs it; however, I will receive no organ transplants. And your last question is too hypothetical to get into; at this stage of IVF technology, that’s not the way things are at all.

There was a question on CAL a little while back about spreading ashes vs. the use of first class relics.

The whole thing came to how the remains are handled. In spreading ashes, you are returning the body to the earth, but you are spreading them so that they are indistinguishable from the rest of the earth and dirt, or water. There is no place to focus the respect of the person. That is why, if one is cremated, they are to have their remains buried, or even placed in someone’s house (though buried is more preferred). With the relics, they are put into places of respect which will be used to remember the person and used for the work of the Lord. And as such, with organ transplants, after death, they are to be handled with care and used for the purpose of saving someone’s life, which will then be respected and remembered. From my own experience with people who have had transplants, the person from whom they received the transplanted organ is well remembered.

Hopefully this helps

So, it all comes down to whether the remains are being respected.

I’ll leave others to debate this,
however, there is a radical difference between donation of organs from an ‘effectively dead’ person, and creating new persons from donations from living persons.

Transplants are to prolong life, or restore lost functionality of an existing life.

IVF is to create life, new human persons, for whom the ‘donors’ have eternal responsibilities…
.and a consequence usually is that some of these, ‘left-over’ unused human embryos, tiny persons, will be killed, disposed of as waste!!! This is the horror of IVF

I do myself have serious questions about organ donations due to such research as the following…it also can be killing of living persons

To everyone:

Whenever someone makes an assertion about the Church, ask for a source. Unsupported conclusions can be in error and do not make a full understanding possible.

From the National Catholic Bioethics Center regarding organ transplants:

About IVF:

The technology of IVF is at a point where multiple fertilized eggs are made and kept in storage. This is done to save costs. So, if one doesn’t take, perhaps the next one will. Those who champion embryonic stem cell research do not see these embryos as persons and can obtain them to kill for their research.

What if questions are just wishes.

Hope this helps,

Thanks everyone. Francie, I wonder if she has read something similar and that’s why she didn’t like the idea. Like I said, it was a frustrating conversation and I couldn’t quite get her to articulate the exact nature of the problem. All of this helps, though, when and if I speak with her again.

The thing is, if God can figure out how to reassemble someone whose remains are scattered by a natural disaster (volcano eruption, attack by a shark mob) or a man-made event (Hiroshima, Nagasaki, World Trade Center), then He can figure out how to reassemble someone whose ashes are scattered at sea or on a mountaintop. And how is it disrespecting the remains to do with them what the deceased wanted done with them? Just sayin’.

(Full disclosure: I don’t have any control over what my survivors will do with my corpse, but the plan is to be buried in the plot that we have purchased here in our local Catholic cemetary.)

Oh, it’s certainly not a problem for God. The issue is of human dignity and respect.

So how does it become a matter of indignity and disrespect to do with one’s ashes what one wants done with them?

Spitting on someone is attacking their dignity, correct?
If someone wants to be spat on, does it become dignifying?

Jesus spat on people. Was he attacking their dignity.

The two of us are derailing this thread. Let’s quit.

Jesus didn’t spit on people, he put dirt mixed with spit. There’s a difference.

Yes, there is a difference – that would be considered even worse.

The other aspect that seemed to keep coming up was that technology was always advancing, so how could the church say IVF was wrong? What if it developed to the point that every time a child was created, it would implant and grow into a baby?

The Church teaches that all sexual acts are morally between a married man and woman, and must be both unitive (mutual giving of self to spouse through the sexual act) and procreative (open to giving life).

There is no unitive act in IVF. The man needs to masturbate. IVF would be immoral for that reason alone; however, the doctor extracts might extract two, four, eight (etc.) ovum from the woman. They are fertilized with the man’s sperm in a container. The doctor does not insert all the newly-formed babies into the woman; he either discards some (which is ABORTION) or freezes some (and science is showing this causes defects in the babies).

The end (a baby) does not morally justify the means (IVF).

From the books I have read, in heaven we will not have a body per se, we will have our spirit. This comes from people who have visited heaven. I want to donate any part of my body that can be useful for organs or for research into alzheimers disease. my dad died of this horrible disease, and I am currently in a study to help people who may get it.
Is this Ok according to the church? I’m sure if we do have a body in heaven, God could put anything back together.

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