Faith, beliefs, culture

It can be helpful to know that all the major religions and belief systems in the UK are open to the principles of organ donation and transplantation and accept that organ donation is an individual choice.

Respecting your faith and beliefs

What’s really important to know is that your faith and beliefs will always be respected and supported throughout the organ or tissue donation process. We will support your loved ones about how organ donation can go ahead in line with your faith or belief system.
If you're not sure of your faith's position on donation, you could discuss it with your spiritual or religious adviser. More information and guides to organ donation and your beliefs can be found on the NHS Organ Donation website.

Culture and ethnicity

For many patients in need of a transplant the best match will come from a donor from the same ethnic background. As blood and tissue types need to match for a transplant to be successful, organs from donors of the same ethnic background as the recipient are more likely to be a close match. That’s why need donors from all communities and ethnicities.

Those from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds are up to 3 times more likely to need a transplant because illnesses such as diabetes, kidney disease and heart disease, which may result in organ failure, occur more often in those communities.

Ethnicity is not used when matching organs, but organs such as kidneys are matched by blood group and tissue type and when donor and recipient are from the same ethnic group, a successful outcome is more likely. A few people with rare tissue types will only be able to accept an organ from someone of the same ethnic origin.

With a low number of donors on the register in Northern Ireland from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds, it is vitally important more donors from these communities are registered.