"It was just an unconditional gift.": self reflections of non-directed living kidney donors

Allison Tong, Jonathan C. Craig, Germaine Wong, John Morton, Sarah Armstrong, John Schollum, Nick Cross

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


Non-directed living kidney donation is an important emerging type of donation, but there are concerns about ulterior motives and irrational decision-making. This study aimed to elicit the motivations and experiences of non-directed living kidney donors. Qualitative interviews were conducted with all 18 people who donated a kidney in the transplant unit of the South Island, New Zealand. Six major themes were identified: offering the chance of life (opportunity for normalcy in the recipient, good samaritanism), determination (resolute personal decision, rooted in stability, urgency, opportuneness), minimizing perceived risks (live with one kidney, trust in the medical system, physical and genetic resilience, taking chances, mental preparation, mild inconvenience), preserving anonymity (protecting donor anonymity, respecting recipient choice, receiving appreciation, knowing recipient outcomes, developing relationships), donor support (psychologic preparation, efficient coordination, reimbursement of expenses), and gaining benefits (improved fitness, empowerment and satisfaction, connectedness). Non-directed living kidney donors want to offer someone a chance of normal life; a decision driven by resoluteness and a sense of urgency. Kidney donation is perceived to offer improved fitness, and a sense of empowerment, satisfaction, and connectedness. Reluctance to consider non-directed donation programs solely on concerns of unrealistic or ill-motivations and potential feelings of donor regret appear unwarranted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)589-599
Number of pages11
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • kidney donors
  • kidney transplantation
  • Qualitative research
  • Psychosocial aspects
  • Interviews
  • Living donors
  • Kidney transplantation


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