Common Organ Donation Myths Busted

Why People Don’t Become Organ Donors:

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, nearly 8,000 U.S. citizens die every year, on average, while waiting for an organ donation. This number could be greatly decreased but for one simple fact: Many people choose not to donate.

Now, there are a number of reasons why this may be. Some of these reasons may be due to deep-seated personal belief systems or may stem from experience in organ donation through a loved one. However, the reality is that many of the reasons people choose to not become an organ donor are a direct result of hearsay or speculation and are no more deep rooted than a sapling fresh in the ground.


The purpose of this article is to address these reasons, and to logically offer discussion as to why these reasons exist and why they may not be quite as big a deal as previously thought.

Reasons people don’t become organ donors:

Fear of the Process

Some people choose not to be an organ donor simply because they are unsure of the process. Will it hurt your body? Will it interfere with the dying process? Will you be able to really only use one kidney if you donate the other?


Yes, fear of the process can be a large burden on those who are deciding to become an organ donor. The reality is, however, that there are a number of resources out there for those who need more information in order to be comfortable with what happens during organ transplantation. The Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network is an invaluable resource for answering questions about the organ donation process.

Fear, Doctors will let you Die


Many believe that having “Organ Donor” stamped on your license is equivalent to saying “Don’t try as hard to keep me alive.” The idea – perpetuated, perhaps, by media and fictional characters – is that medical staff are eager to harvest organs whenever the opportunity presents itself. Thus, they may not do as much as they can to save their current patient if that patient’s organs are useful elsewhere.

This, however, out of pure logic and trust in the expertise of our country’s doctors, should not be of concern. Doctors and medical teams signed up to be part of their industry in an effort to help people, all people. Their primary concern is for the patient who they are currently assisting. Their task is to do everything they can for that person. Once every avenue has been thoroughly researched and tried, only then does the transplantation become a viable and useful thing.


Fear their Organs aren’t Good Enough

Some people even worry about how suitable their organs are for any recipients of organ transplantation. These fears could be derived from a belief that their lifestyle has negatively impacted their internal organs, making them less viable for the donation. Others are afraid that their organs might not be the right size for the recipient, rendering the procedure useless.


The truth of the matter is that the only way to tell if organs are viable and able to be used is at the time of the harvest. Just because someone’s lifestyle had negative or unhealthy tendencies doesn’t mean that some or all organs are able to be used. As for the problem of the difference in sizes of each organ, there are ways for surgeons to be able to trim the organ to fit the space of the body cavity.

These reasons are a few examples of what keeps the percentage of donors down. Think of all of the lives that could be saved, daily, if donated organs were readily available. Join the cause and become an organ donor.