Myth busting

Thousands of people in the UK are waiting for an organ transplant. Many may never get the call saying that we have found a suitable donor organ.

Being an organ donor is a generous and worthwhile decision that can save lives.

If you haven’t registered as a donor because of the information you've heard, then here are answers to some common organ donation myths and concerns.

Will doctors work hard to save my life if I agree to donate my organs?

Yes, doctors focus on saving your life — not somebody else's.

Will they make sure I’m dead before they remove my organs?

We give people who have agreed to donate their organs and/or tissue more tests to make sure they're really dead.

Organ donation is against my religion.

The major religions in the UK support the idea of organ donation and transplant. This includes:

If you're unsure of or uncomfortable with your faith's position on donation, ask your religious leader or teacher.

Can people under 18 donate their organs?

Yes. Tell your parents you want to donate your organs after your death. They can give their consent knowing that it's what you wanted. Children, too, need transplants and usually organs smaller than those an adult can provide.

Will donation leave my body disfigured?

We remove all organs and/or tissue with great care and respect in an operating room. Specialist healthcare professionals will make sure you are treated with dignity. We carefully close and cover the surgical incision after donation. The arrangements for viewing the body after donation are the same as after death.

Can people have who have donated organs or tissue have open-casket funeral?

Organ and tissue donation doesn't stop people from having an open-casket funeral. You body is clothed for burial, so there are no signs of organ or tissue donation. Because you will be clothed and lying on your back in the coffin, no one will see any difference.

Can older people donate their organs and/or tissue?

There's no age limit for donating. Healthcare professional decide to use your organs and/or tissue based on strict medical criteria, not age. Let the doctors decide when you die whether your organs and tissues are suitable for transplants.

Can I donate my organs or tissues if I have a medical condition?

Very few medical conditions automatically disqualify you from donating. Medical professionals decide to use your organs and/or tissue based on strict medical criteria. Certain organs and/or tissue may not be suitable for transplantation, but others may be fine. Let the doctors decide when you die whether your organs and tissues are suitable for transplants.

People can buy and sell organs.

This is not true. The transplant laws in the UK forbids selling human organs or tissue.

How to become a donor

Join the NHS Organ Donor Register, or
Call us on: 0300 123 23 23

Further information