Published online Oct 24, 2012. doi: 10.5500/wjt.v2.i5.69
Revised: July 11, 2012
Accepted: October 20, 2012
Published online: October 24, 2012
There is worldwide shortage of organs for solid-organ transplantation. Many obstacles to deceased and live donation have been described and addressed, such as lack of understanding of the medical process, the issue of the definition of brain death, public awareness of the need for transplants, and many others. However, it is clear that the striking differences in deceased and live donation rates between different countries are only partly explained by these factors and many cultural and social reasons have been invoked to explain these observations. We believe that one obstacle to both deceased and live donation that is less well appreciated is that of religious concerns. Looking at the major faiths and religions worldwide, it is reassuring to see that most of them encourage donation. However, there is also scepticism amongst some of them, often relating to the concept of brain death and/or the processes surrounding death itself. It is worthwhile for transplant teams to be broadly aware of the issues and also to be mindful of resources for counselling. We believe that increased awareness of these issues within the transplant community will enable us to discuss these openly with patients, if they so wish.