Deceased donation involves a kidney being transplanted to a recipient from a donor who has died, either suddenly or through natural causes. The deceased person would have registered to be an organ donor, so that upon his/her death, all the possible organs are removed and transplanted. Deceased donations are anonymous, such that recipients will not know the identity of the donor, and the deceased donor’s family will not know the identity of the recipient.

Similar to living donation…

Deceased donation is also associated with certain psychological and emotional concerns.

Sometimes, recipients of kidneys from deceased donors experience guilt that the donor had to die in order for them to receive the kidney. Although rigorous testing occurs to ensure donors are healthy and have no medical conditions or illnesses, recipients may fear that they could develop an illness from receiving a kidney from a deceased donor – however, the health of the donor’s kidneys, and the circumstances of the donor’s death, are thoroughly examined prior to transplantation to ensure that the recipient’s health will not be compromised in any way. Recipients of deceased donor kidneys may also experience positive feelings associated with their transplant, feeling that by living a healthy life, they can honour the memory and legacy of their anonymous deceased donor and ensure that the donor’s life was not wasted. Similarly, the family of the deceased donor may feel that their loved one can live on through the recipient, and that the death of their loved one was turned into something positive and meaningful.

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Above image by John Tann. Licensed under CC BY 2.0

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