Jewish duty to save life (P’kuach nefesh). There is controversy in the Orthodox branch about the criteria for death.


There are no religious prohibitions against donation, and the belief in continual rebirth or reincarnation does not appear to conflict with donation. Hindu mythology includes examples of using body parts for the benefit of other humans and society.


Although some analogues within Buddhist writings could support organ donation, there is some ambivalence about transplantation. In particular, the concepts regarding neurologic determination of death may seem to contradict the Buddhist view of the interconnectedness of life and death.

Confucianism and Taoism

Official declarations regarding organ donation have not been made in Confucianism and Taoism. Traditional Confucian views accept the inevitability of death, while Taoism supports more aggressive measures to prolong life. These traditions are also closely intertwined with traditional Chinese medicine, which emphasizes preserving the integrity of the body.

SOURCES: Gillman (1999); Veatch (2000).

inclined to be organ donors. In contrast, a focus group study in Atlanta found that many participants believed that their religious values were the basis of their attitudes of altruism and wanting to make a difference in someone else’s life (Jacob Arriola et al., 2005). Siminoff and colleagues (2001b) also found that families who believed their religion encourages donation were likely (82.5 percent) to consent to donation.

In a survey of African-American adults, the perception of religious and social norms supportive of organ donation was found to be predictive of a willingness for families to discuss organ donation (Morgan, 2004). On the other hand, in a survey of outpatients visiting a community physician’s office, religious affiliation or regular church attendance did not have an influence on willingness to donate (Haustein and Sellers, 2004).

In a survey of 120 Chinese Americans, Lam and McCullough (2000) found that many respondents were influenced by Confucian values and also

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