Organ donation, transplantation and religion

Nephrol Dial Transplant. 2011 Feb;26(2):437-44. doi: 10.1093/ndt/gfq628. Epub 2010 Oct 20.


Religious concerns may be an important reason why patients decline listing for a renal transplant. These issues may be equally, or even more, important when live donation is discussed. There is good reason to believe that religious concerns play a significant role much more often than clinicians and transplant teams believe. The issue is certainly further compounded by the fact that a few, if any, patients come forward with their religious concerns, not least because issue of transplantation is new to them anyway and because they meet with transplant teams whom they do not know. Health professionals, on the other hand, may wish to avoid this sensitive issue altogether or may lack knowledge on religious issues pertaining to transplantation. Some may be entirely unaware. We encountered a case in clinic that revealed our remarkable lack of knowledge in this regard. Here, we aim to provide an overview on how the different religions view transplantation and organ donation, with an emphasis on practical points for health care professionals who are involved in transplant listing, organ donation and retrieval, and transplantation itself. Knowledge of these facts may provide a background to deal with these issues professionally and appropriately and to increase transplant numbers.

Publication types

  • Editorial

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Attitude to Health
  • Humans
  • Kidney Transplantation*
  • Religion*
  • Tissue and Organ Procurement*