Why Don’t More People Donate Organs? A Resource Guide for Organ Donation Advocates

One organ donor can already save eight lives. But not everyone is willing to become one. There is a huge disparity between the number of patients that are waiting for an organ transplant and the number of people that are willing to donate organs. No wonder, an average of 20 patients pass away each day while waiting for organ transplant. This is a sad fact, but it is a reality we have to address right away.

Why are many people reluctant to donate an organ even if it comes with plenty of benefits for both the donor and recipient? And why should you, as an organ donation advocate, should worry about this issue?

In order to effectively raise awareness on organ transplant and donation, you have to understand first the reasons a lot of people decide not to become organ donors. In doing so, you can address the concerns about organ donation, dispel the misconceptions, and convince people that it is one of the noblest things they can do as humans.

What are the causes of the lack of organ donors in America? Here are some of the reasons that explain the refusal of people and their families to donate organs.

1.  Lack of trust in doctors and hospitals

In general, people do not trust physicians and medical institutions enough to volunteer to have their organs donated. There is a misconception that doctors will not save patients who are registered organ donors.

But that is simply not true. In fact, patients who are in a state of coma or declared brain-dead go through a series of tests required by the government.

2. Lack of understanding about the need to donate an organ

People know the importance of organ donation, but only a few of them have a deep understanding of the urgency of an organ transplant. Consider this: many patients who are on the waiting list for organ transplants have only a few days or even hours to live. When their turn to receive their needed organ comes up, it might be too late already.

If only people fully understand such urgency and the huge impact their action can have on another human being, then we could see more and more people wanting to sign up for an organ donation.

3. Discomfort and hesitance to talk about death

Ask someone about his or her plans for death, and you will be answered with an incredulous or mortified reaction. Just talking about death makes people uncomfortable. A survey done among students and their families across the United States discovered the prevailing concern that planning one’s death might cause it to happen prematurely. Others are simply disgusted with the idea of obtaining an organ from a person and transplanting it to somebody else.

There are more reasons why people are hesitant about donating their or their loved one’s organs. The key takeaway here is to educate people so that their wrong pre-conceived notions about organ donations are corrected.