Just found out my boyfriend, whom I am thinking of a future with, is not an organ donor. He doesn't have any religious beliefs to speak of but said he would like to be buried whole.
I lost my lifelong best friend as she waited for an organ donation that never came. Do I have the right to broach such an intensely personal decision with my boyfriend? How do I approach it without putting him on the defensive? I feel that I can talk with him about a lot of things, but I don't want to be unreasonable because I am so emotionally invested in the issue.
This isn't a deal-breaker for me, I don't think. But it is something I want to discuss with him.
Here is Carolyn's answer:
Absolutely you can raise this issue, and I hope you do. It is intensely personal, and you can start by acknowledging that -- but it's also a public health issue. Not to mention, you're close to the point of pondering marriage, so personal questions aren't just permissible, they're necessary.
Explain that your experience gives you a different perspective, and ask him if he has considered the possibility that someone close to him might one day need an organ that never materializes. Or that he himself might.
And if he did need one, and one became available, would he accept it? What about a bone graft? Is it okay by him that other people aren't buried whole? Does he think it's morally consistent to live knowing that the medical safety net of donated organs is there for him, and that he's willing to avail himself of it, but not contribute to it himself?
Does he want his tonsils back?
Then he can revisit his stance, while you revisit your deal-breakers.
Carolyn asks a great question: "Does he think it's morally consistent to live knowing that the medical safety net of donated organs is there for him, and that he's willing to avail himself of it, but not contribute to it himself?" If more people were asked this question, fewer people would die waiting for organ transplants.
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