Are organ donations allowed within the Noahide Commandments?

Gentiles are not commanded that they must be buried in the earth. Therefore, it is permissible for a Gentile to plan for donation of organs after his or her passing. Since they have this option, it is a meritorious thing for them to give this great gift. It can provide an improved physical life, and even life itself, to another person. However, it must be noted that G-d’s Torah defines life by the beating of the heart.

Therefore, any Gentile who wishes to donate organs is encouraged to make a legally binding stipulation through a Living Will that is consistent with this Torah law. It should stipulate that no organs may be removed, and no life-support mechanisms may be discontinued (if they have already been applied), before the heart has permanently stopped beating.

For Jews, however, it is commanded (see Deuteronomy 21:23) that their entire body should be buried in the earth. This should be done on the day of death or as soon afterward as possible. The burial can be delayed beyond the first day only for certain specific circumstances. Likewise, autopsies on Jewish bodies are forbidden in general. In cases of great need, a reliable Orthodox Rabbi should be consulted.

From Ethics of the Fathers 3:14, “[Rabbi Akiva] used to say: Beloved is Man, for he was created in the Divine image. It is an even greater [act of] love that it was made known to him that he was created in the Divine image, as it states, ‘In the image of G-d was man created’ [Genesis 1:27].” This verse refers to all mankind. A practical lesson from this is that the human body should not be treated disrespectfully, even in death. We learn from Genesis 3:19 that the most respectful treatment for a human corpse is burial.