Over the years, the waiting list for organs has consistently exceeded the number of organs donated. Organs for transplantation come from both living and deceased donors.
Catholic teaching holds that organ donation is a generous and noble act as long as adequate moral criteria are met, including free and informed consent and the preservation of bodily integrity in the case of a living donor.
Pope Saint John Paul II described organ donation as a particularly praiseworthy example of everyday heroism if “performed in an ethically acceptable manner, with a view to offering a chance of health and even of life itself to the sick who sometimes have no other hope.”
Particularly important for donation after death is that the donor is properly declared dead, either by cardiopulmonary or neurological criteria. In order for the determination of death by neurological criteria to be morally acceptable, there must be rigorous testing that confirms the entire brain has irreversibly ceased to function.
- The Gospel of Life (n. 86)
- Catechism of the Catholic Church (n. 2296)
- Pope Saint John Paul II on Organ Donation and Transplantation