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Religious and Racial Considerations

Religious Considerations and Donation

All major religions support organ, eye and tissue donation and view it as a final act of charity and goodwill. At this link you will find a list of the major religions practiced in the United States and their position on donation.

Racial Considerations and Donation

People of color are disproportionately represented on the national organ transplant wait list, and the number of people in need is significantly higher than the number of donors from these communities. African Americans, Latinos and other multicultural communities account for more than half of the people on the wait list nationwide.

However, race is not considered when determining a person’s position on the waiting list or when finding a potential match for a donated organ. Where a person ranks on the wait list is determined by blood type, severity of illness and match potential.

In the United States, 10% of all donors are African American and 13% are Latino. Yet more than 30% of people waiting and 34% of those waiting for a kidney transplant are African American and more than 18% of the wait list and 16% of those waiting for a kidney are Latino.

There are a variety of reasons for this; some diseases of the kidneys, heart, lungs, pancreas and liver are more common in ethnic and racial minority populations. African Americans, Asian and Pacific Islanders and Latinos are three times more likely to suffer from end-stage renal (kidney) disease than Caucasians. Native Americans are four times more likely to suffer from diabetes.

While race does not affect the compatibility in tissue transplantation and generally is not a major factor in organ transplantation, matches made within certain ethnic groups have shown a higher level of compatibility than those made outside ethnic groups. Even though this is true, currently 9 out of 10 African Americans who receive an organ transplant receive the donated organ from Caucasian donors.