Class Year




Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)

Department or Program

Sociology and Anthropology

First Advisor

Holly Swyers

Second Advisor

Ryan Cook

Third Advisor

Glenn Adelson


Popular messaging and how people talk about organ donation focuses on why people should be donors rather than on the process itself. The purpose of this thesis is to gain an understanding of what young adults know about the organ donation and transplantation process, how they interpret donor registration campaigns, and the discussion and decision process they have gone through, as a way to gauge their knowledge and action with the details and expectations of the transplantation process. This thesis found that young adults in the Cleveland, Ohio and Chicago, Illinois areas understand organ donation as a way to give life, a gift. Predominantly using the gift metaphor de-emphasizes sharing donation wishes with next-of-kin and the donation process. Using a wider variety of metaphors, such as recycling, to relay messages about the transplant process may initially be uncomfortable, but promotes discussion and more fully promotes an understanding of the process.