This comprehensive article is based on three previous studies on people's reactions on receiving transplants of various kinds: a survey of the public, in-depth interviews with informants recruited from this survey and two other surveys, and in-depth interviews with heart and kidney recipients. The ideas and reactions of the public, when confronted with the issue of receiving a transplant in a hypothetic situation, vary from magical thinking to a conception of the body as an object in need of repair. The actual recipients show a similar variation in their reactions as the public. However, there are some differences between the two groups that probably depend on the patient selection for transplantation, reality factors, acclimatization factors, and defense strategies to master anxiety-provoking thoughts about the donor and transplant. The most constructive of the ideas about the donor seems to be identification with positive traits, such as generosity and solidarity.