Living donation involves a donor voluntarily donating a kidney to a recipient, and it is the most successful of all organ transplants. Most commonly, a patient’s family member or friend will be the kidney donor, which can create a unique bond between the donor and recipient due to going through the special gift of kidney transplantation together.
Although living donor kidney transplants are the most successful, there are psychological and emotional concerns that come with it.
Often, patients don’t know how to approach family members or friends about becoming a possible donor. Sometimes, there can be someone who is willing to be a kidney donor, but the patient is unwilling to receive a kidney from that particular person – for example, if a patient has a child who is a match, even if the child is completely willing and wanting to donate a kidney, the patient may feel guilty about receiving a kidney from his/her child, feeling as though they would be negatively affecting their child’s life and they may feel worried about their child experiencing potential health issues in the future. In addition, donors can sometimes have concerns about the recipients – they may feel worried that recipients may not take care of themselves, which could compromise the success of the kidney transplant, and donors may feel worried that the kidney transplant will be wasted if recipients don’t take care of themselves and stay healthy.
Recipients also fear the potential guilty feelings that may arise if they end up losing the function of the donated kidney.