Myths & Misconceptions

Misconceptions and lack of knowledge regarding organ and tissue donation needlessly leads to death for many people on the transplant waiting list. Mid-America Transplant wants you to understand the facts about organ and tissue donation.

Wills and Donor Cards

Myth:  I don’t need to tell my family that I want to be a donor because I have it written in my will or I signed the back of my driver’s license.
Fact:  By the time your will is read or doctors see your driver’s license or donor card, it will or may be too late to recover your organs and/or tissue. Telling your family, now, that you want to be an organ and tissue donor and enrolling, today, in the Organ and Tissue Donor Registry is the best way to ensure that your wishes are carried out.

Age and Health

Myth:  I am too old or too sick to become an organ and tissue donor.
Fact:  Anyone can be a potential organ and tissue donor regardless of age, race, or medical history.


Myth:  My religion won’t allow me to donate my organs and/or tissue.
Fact:  All major religions in the United States support organ and tissue donation. Most see it as the final act of love and generosity toward others.


Myth:  I can’t have an open casket at my funeral.
Fact:  An open casket funeral is possible for organ and tissue donors. Through the entire donation process the body is treated with care, respect, and dignity.


Myth:  In case of an emergency, the doctors may not do everything to save me.
Fact:  If you are sick or injured and admitted to the hospital, the number one priority is to save your life. Organ and tissue donation can only be considered after you are deceased.


Myth:  I can’t afford the medical costs associated with donating my organs and tissue.
Fact: There is no financial cost to you or your family to donate your organs and tissue after death. All costs associated with the donation are covered by the Organ Procurement Organization (OPO).


Myth:  Rich and famous people get preferential treatment on the U.S. transplant waiting list.
Fact:  The National Organ Transplant Act (Public Law 98-507) ensures that organ allocation is based on medical criteria, time spent on the waiting list, and geographical location. Also, patients are not indicated on the waiting list by name.

Black Market

Myth:  I can sell my organs on the black market.
Fact:  No! There is no black market for organs. Stories about the black market are urban legends. The National Organ Transplant Act (Public Law 98-507) prohibits the sale of human organs. Violators are subject to fines and imprisonment. Due to the complex system of transplantation, piracy is practically impossible.

Donating Body to Science

Myth:  I can still donate my organs and tissue if I donate my body to science.
Fact:  If you choose to donate your body for scientific or educational research, which is also vital to saving and improving lives, that facility will need your entire body and you will not be able to donate your organs or tissue for transplant. In some cases, however, you may be able to donate your eyes.