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Am J Transplant. 2003 Feb;3(2):203-13.

The living anonymous kidney donor: lunatic or saint?

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British Columbia Transplant Society, Vancouver, BC.


Studies indicate that 11% to 54% of individuals surveyed would consider donating a kidney, while alive, to a stranger. The idea of 'living anonymous donors' (LADs) as a donor source, however, has not been embraced by the medical community. Reservations focus on the belief that LADs might be psychologically unstable and thus unsuitable donors. Our goal was to inform policy development by exploring the psycho-social make up and motivations of the LAD. Ninety-three unsolicited individuals contacted our center expressing interest in living anonymous donation. Of these, 43 participated in our study, completing two extensive inventories of psychopathology and personality disorder and taking part in the Comprehensive Psycho-Social Interview (CPSI). From the Personality Assessment Inventory (PAI), the revised NEO Personality Inventory (NEO PI-R), and the CPSI, coders assessed psychological health, psycho-social suitability, commitment, and motivations. Twenty-one participants passed the stringent criteria to be considered potential LADs. Content analysis of motivations showed that potential LADs were more likely than non-LADs (those who did not pass the criteria) to have a spiritual belief system and to be altruistic. Non-LADs were more likely than potential LADs to use donation to make a statement against their families. The authors conclude with a preliminary outline of eight policy recommendations.

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