African Methodist Episcopal

Organ and tissue donation is viewed as an act of neighborly love and charity by these denominations.  They encourage all members to support donation as a way of helping others.


The decision to donate is left up to the individual.  Donation is highly supported by the denomination.


Donation is supported as an act of charity and the church leaves the decision to donate up to the individual.


Catholics view organ/tissue donation as an act of charity and love.  Transplants are morally and ethically acceptable to the Vatican.  According Father Leroy Wickowski, Director of the Office of Health Affairs of the Archdiocese of Chicago, “We encourage donation as an act of charity.  It is something good that can result from tragedy and a way for families to find comfort by helping others.”


Disciples of Christ

The Christian Church encourages organ and tissue donation, stating that individuals were created for God’s glory and for sharing God’s love.  A 1985 resolution, adopted by the general assembly, encourages “…members of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) to enroll as organ donors and prayerfully support those who have received an organ transplant.”


The Church of Christ Scientist does not have a specific position regarding organ and tissue donation.  According to the First Church of Christ Scientist in Boston, Christian Scientists normally rely on spiritual means of healing instead of medical.  They are free, however, to choose whatever form of medical treatment they desire — including a transplant.  The question of organ, eye and tissue donation is an individual decision.


The Episcopal Church passed a resolution in 1982 that recognized the life-giving benefits of organ, blood, and tissue donation.  All Christians are encouraged to become organ, blood, and tissue donors “as part of their ministry to others in the name of Christ, who gave His life that we may have life in its fullness…”


Generally, Evangelicals have no opposition to organ and tissue donation.  Each church is autonomous and leaves the decision to donate up to the individual.


According to their National Headquarters, the Watch Tower Society, Jehovah’s Witnesses believe donation is a matter of individual decision.  Jehovah’s Witnesses are often assumed to be opposed to donation because of their belief against blood transfusion.  However, this merely means that all blood must be removed from the organs and tissues before being transplanted.  In addition, it would not be acceptable for an organ donor to receive blood as part of the organ recovery process.


The position of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is that patients, their families, and all individuals have a responsibility to consider “the possibility of organ donation as a means of sharing life with others.”  In 1984 the Missouri-Synod branch of the LCA passed a resolution stating that donation contributes to the well-being of humanity and can be “an expression of sacrificial love for a neighbor in need.”  They call on “members to consider donating organs and to make any necessary family and legal arrangements, including the use of a signed donor card.”


Pentecostals believe that the decision to donate should be left up to the individual.


Presbyterians encourage and support donation.  They respect a person’s right to make decisions regarding his or her own body.  During their General Assembly in 1995, they wrote a strong support of donation and commented that they “encourage its members and friends to sign and carry Universal Donor Cards…”


Donation and transplantation are strongly encouraged by Seventh-Day Adventists.  They have many transplant hospitals, including Loma Linda in California.  Loma Linda specializes n pediatric heart transplantation.


The United Methodist Church issued a policy statement in 1984 regarding organ and tissue donation.  In it, they state that “The United Methodist Church recognizes the life-giving benefits of organ and tissue donation, and thereby encourages all Christians to become organ and tissue donors by signing and carrying cards or driver’s licenses, attesting to their commitment of such organs upon their death, to those in need, as part of their ministry to others in the name of Christ, who gave his life that we might have life in its fullness.”  A 1992 resolution stated, “donation is to be encouraged, assuming appropriate safeguards against hastening death and determination of death by reliable criteria.”  The resolution further states that, “Pastoral-care persons should be willing to explore these options as a normal part of conversation with patients and their families.”


The Wesleyan Church supports donation as a way of helping others.  They believe that God’s “ability to resurrect us is not dependent on whether or not all our parts were connected at death.”  They also support research and, in 1989, noted in a task force on public morals and social concerns that “one of the ways that a Christian can do good is to request that their body be donated to a medical school or use in teaching.”

* The primary source of this information was the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Special Projects, Division of Transplantation.