This article is from the Organ Transplant FAQ, by firstname.lastname@example.org (Michael Holloway) with numerous contributions by others.
As with any new technology, rumors, myths and misunderstandings about
organ transplantation are widespread. Frustration produced by the high
cost, the effect of the organ donor shortage, and the unavailability of
transplantation throughout most of the rest of the world have probably
contributed to this. Since rumors can often be more entertaining than
the truth, tabloid media will often pick up and help spread them, despite
the great harm they cause. Urban legends about organ transplantation are
uniquely dangerous since organ transplantation can not succeed without
the participation and support of the majority of the population. Bad
press, urban legends, even fiction portraying organ transplantation as
somehow evil, all have prevented full support for donation and led to the
death of people who might otherwise be leading productive and happy lives
Another factor fueling the proliferation of myths is the unfortunate
institution in India of payment for unrelated live kidney donation that
preys on the poor in that country. While it may be true that the Indian
medical community is not required to abide by western standards of
ethics, neither is the US medical community required to interact with
them, train their physicians, publish their research, etc. Its past time
that the US medical community started taking visible responsibility for
influencing transplantation ethics in foreign countries.
Mani, M.K., Renal Transplantation in India. (1992) Transplantation
Kott, Andrea., Organ Procurement Programs in State of Emergency.
Medical World News Feb 1992, v33n2, p. 15-16
Gallup Poll on Attitudes Towards Organ Donation, available at
and from The Partnership
for Organ Donation, Inc. (617)482-5746.
UNOS web site's Top Ten Myths About Donation