A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Organ Transplants

Bahá’ís are permitted to specify in their wills that their bodies or organs of their bodies may be donated to the proper uses of science or the replacement of organs or organ parts.
(Universal House of Justice, Compilation on Reproduction and Other Biological Subjects, 30 August 1988)


I‘ve always wanted to donate my organs on my death, but when I was living in a small community three hours north of a major medical centre, I learned that if I died there, they would keep my body on life supports, ship me three hours away, harvest the organs and then ship me back for burial. This called into question where the location of death would be, and could I actually do this, given the fact that the body would be moved for more than an hour. I wrote to the National Centre (of Canada) for their guidance and this is their response:
"On the matter of donation of one’s body for medical research after death, Shoghi Effendi stated the following in a letter written on his behalf on 22 March 1957…
"As many people make arrangements to leave their bodies to medical science for investigation, he suggests that you inquire, either through some lawyer friend or through some hospital, how you could do this, and then make the necessary provision in your Will, stipulating that you wish your body be of service to mankind in death, and that, being a Bahá’í, you request that your remains not be cremated and not be taken more than an hour’s journey from the place you die.”
They also said “In light of the guidance and your understanding of the transportation of the body at the time organs are harvested, your decision regarding [withdrawing] your organ donor card would seem to be sound.


There is nothing in the teachings which would forbid a Bahá’í to bequeath his eyes to another person or for a hospital; on the contrary it seems a noble thing to do.
(Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 290)


There is nothing in the teachings against leaving our bodies to medical science. The only thing we should stipulate is that we do not wish to be cremated, as it is against our Bahá’í laws. As many people make arrangements to leave their bodies to medical science for investigation, he suggests that you inquire, either through some lawyer friend or through some hospital, how you could do this, and then make the necessary provision in your Will, stipulating that you wish your body to be of service to mankind in death, and that, being a Bahá’í, you request that your remains not be cremated and not be taken more than an hour’s journey from the place of your death. The spirit has no more connection with the body after it departs, but as the body was once the temple of the spirit, we Bahá’ís are taught that it must be treated with respect.
(Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 201)


We have not come across anything specific in the writings on transplants of hearts and other organs or regarding the time of death, and the Universal House of Justice does not wish to make any statements on these points at this time.
(Universal House of Justice, Lights of Guidance, p. 290)