The aims of the study were: 1) to describe the willingness of the public to receive material of different origins in one's own body; 2) to compare the willingness to donate and receive body material; 3) to compare the willingness to donate while alive and after death; 4) to compare the willingness to donate to a next-of-kin and unknown recipients. A random sample of 1500 inhabitants, 18 to 70 yr old, in the county of Uppsala, Sweden, were sent a questionnaire asking about their opinion on transplantation and transfusion issues. The response rate was 71%. Ninety-five percent accepted to receive blood transfusion, 89% bone-marrow transplantation, and 85% transplantation of a solid organ. Organs from living donors were preferred (77%), then organs from decreased donors (69%), then artificial organs (63%), and last animal organs (40%). More than half of those accepting transplants made exceptions for some types of organs. The youngest and those with higher education were more positive toward receiving all types of organs than the older ones and those with lower education. Women were less prepared than men to accept animal organs. Those who accepted organs from animals usually also accepted all other types of organs, and were willing to donate organs and tissue more often than those who did not accept to receive animal organs. The readiness to support a sick family member by giving bone-marrow and even a kidney was considerable, 89 and 81%, respectively. The attitudes were less positive with regard to giving blood and bone-marrow to unknown recipients, 54 and 41%, respectively. Sixty-one percent of the respondents were positive toward donating their own organs after death. Of those who were positive, 10% made exceptions for special organs that they did not want to donate, mostly heart, eyes, and brain. Individuals with higher education and young people were more often positive than those with lower education and old people regarding donation of blood and organs, and bone-marrow donation to a relative. Women were somewhat more accepting to donate while alive than males. Thirty-one percent, more often women than men, had signed a donor card and/or registered with the Swedish Organ Donation Registry. The results with regard to receiving organs and tissue are discussed in terms of two different sets of explanations, which can be seen as different sides of the same coin, and mutually strengthening the reactions. The great readiness to donate to a family member as well as the discrepancy between giving in life and after death is commented upon.
1998. Vol. 12, no 6, 515-522 p.