Myths & Misconceptions


Myth #1:

An open-casket funeral isn’t an option for people who have donated organs or tissues.

The Facts: Organ and tissue donation doesn’t interfere with having an open-casket funeral. The donor’s body is clothed for burial, so there are no visible signs of organ or tissue donation. Through the entire donation process, the body is treated with care, dignity and respect.

Myth #2:

Organ, eye and tissue donation is against my religion.

The Facts: All major religions support organ, eye and tissue donation as the ultimate act of charity. If you have specific questions about your faith’s views on donation, consult with your minister, pastor, rabbi or other religious leader.

Myth #3:

I’m too old to donate. Nobody would want my organs.

The Facts: Anyone can be an organ donor regardless of age, race or medical history. There’s no defined cutoff age for donating organs. The decision to use your organs is based on strict medical criteria, not age. Don’t disqualify yourself prematurely. At your time of death, medical professionals can decide whether your organs and tissues are suitable for transplantation.

Myth #4:

My family will be charged for donating my organs, eyes and tissue.

The Facts: There is no cost to the donor or donor’s family for organ, eye or tissue donation.

Myth #5:

Hospitals or first responders won’t save me if I’m a registered donor.

The Facts: If you are sick or injured, the primary duty of emergency responders and hospital staff is to save your life. Your donor designation NEVER interferes with your medical care.  Only Donate Life Maryland professionals have access to the official Maryland Donor Registry.

Myth #6:

Rich and famous people go to the top of the list when they need a donor organ.

The Facts: The rich and famous aren’t given priority when it comes to allocating organs. It may seem that way because of the amount of publicity generated when celebrities receive a transplant, but they are treated no differently from anyone else. When patients are on the waiting list for an organ transplant, their position on that list is based on the severity of their illness, time spent waiting, blood type and other important medical information. Social and financial status are never a factor in this process.

Myth #7:

I’m not in the best of health. Nobody would want my organs or tissues.

The Facts: Very few medical conditions automatically disqualify you from donating organs. The decision to use an organ is based on strict medical criteria. It may turn out that certain organs are not suitable for transplantation, but other organs and tissues may be fine. Don’t disqualify yourself prematurely. Only medical professionals at the time of your death can determine whether your organs are suitable for transplantation.

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