Awareness of religious leaders' fatwa and willingness to donate organ
M. Afzal Aghaee
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Background: It is believed that religious leaders' positive attitude towards organ donation can be an effective factor in Muslims' inclination to donate organs. Objective: To assess the knowledge of freshmen students in Mashhad University of Medical Sciences about religious leaders' fatwa on organ donation and its effect on their willingness to donate organs. Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted in 2013 on 400 freshmen of various medical disciplines, selected using a simple random sampling in Mashhad, Iran. Data were collected by a valid and reliable researcher-made questionnaire. Data were analyzed by multiple logistic regression analysis. Results: 41.5% of the students were aware of religious authorities' views on organ donation and 55.6% were willing to donate organs. Participants' main reasons for lack of willingness to donate organs included the fear of organ donation before the brain death is confirmed (52%), unwillingness to disfigure their body (51%), and belief in the burial of organs (50%). The willingness to organ donation for students who were aware of religious leaders opinion was more than twice more than those who were not (OR: 2.56, 95% CI: 1.75-4.52). Also, female gender, the Shia religion and awareness of the correct definition of brain death were associated factors affecting the desire to donate organs, although their effects were not statistically significant on regression model. Conclusion: A considerable proportion of students were not aware of the religious leaders' fatwa on organ donation. The most important factor for the desire to donate organs was the awareness of religious leaders' fatwa. Therefore, it seems necessary that religious leaders' fatwa be known to all by appropriate methods.