Myths and Misconceptions

There are many myths and misconceptions about organ donation.Everyone has heard horror stories or seen crazy storylines on popular tv shows. Sadly, these misconceptions often lead people not to register as organ or tissue donors. Below are a few of the most common myths and misconceptions, and the corresponding facts. Please make sure whatever your registration status may be, it is based on factual information and not television dramas or stories about a friend of a friend's cousin's boyfriend. For more information, including surveys and statistical data, please visit the United Network of Organ Sharing at www.unos.org.
Myth 
If a person donates his organs or tissue, a normal funeral service cannot be held. 

Fact 
Funeral arrangements should not be delayed by organ and/or tissue donation. Additionally, since the body is not disfigured, a traditional, even open casket service may be possible.
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Myth 
Transplants don't really work. They're just experimental. 

Fact 
Transplantation is regarded as standard medical practice for a constantly increasing number of conditions. Survival rates are impressive. The one-year survival rate for kidney transplant recipients is almost 97 percent; for heart recipients, over 83 percent; and for liver recipients, more than 81 percent.
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Myth 
If I am admitted to the hospital and they are aware that I have signed a donor card, I will not be treated as aggressively because of the need for organs.

Fact 
The decision to sign a donor card will in no way affect the level of medical care for a sick or injured person. The team of doctors and nurses involved in treating the patient is not involved with the transplant/recovery team, which is called in only after death has occurred.

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Myth 
The body is often mutilated to obtain organs and tissue. 

Fact 
There is no marring of the body during organ or tissue recovery. The organs and tissue are removed with dignity, in a sterile surgical procedure like that performed on a living patient.

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Myth 
My religious beliefs prevent me from considering organ donation. 

Fact 
Major religions support organ donation. In fact, the Rabbinical Council of America has approved organ donation and Pope John Paul II referred to organ donation as an act of great love. Learn more about your religions views.

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Myth 
Organ transplants can be "bought" by the wealthy and powerful. 

Fact 
Organs are computer matched according to compatibility of donor and recipient tissue, determined by various tests, waiting time, and the medical need of the recipient. Social or financial data are not part of the computer database and, therefore, are not factors in the determination of who receives an organ.

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Myth 
The donor’s family has to pay for the recovery of organs. 

Fact 
There is never a charge to the family of the donor for organ recovery. All associated costs are paid by the organ procurement organization.