Perspectives of Transplant Professionals on the Values, Ethics, and Challenges of Living Kidney Donor Evaluation in Asia

Allison Tong, Jeremy Chapman, Terence Kee, Philip Li, Daniel Tsai, Germaine Wong, Jonathan Craig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Deceased donor rates in Asia are among the lowest in the world. This has necessitated a reliance on living kidney donation, which has given rise to concerns about donor motivation and assessment in this region. We aimed to describe transplant professional perspectives on living kidney donor evaluation in Asia. Methods Face-to-face, semistructured interviews were conducted with 53 transplant professionals (nephrologists [n = 21], surgeons/urologists [n = 17], coordinators [n = 7], social workers [n = 5], ethicists [n = 2], psychologist [n = 1]) from 20 centers in 10 countries. Transcripts were analyzed thematically to identify themes. Results The theme of traversing vulnerability overarched 4 themes. Vigilance against exploitation of the vulnerable meant mitigating the threat of commercial transplantation, combating disparities, and verifying volunteerism. Maintaining clarity of professional roles encompassed the perceived necessity of legal safeguards to determine legitimacy of relationships, ensuring informed consent, demarcating responsibilities, minimizing conflict of interest, meeting community expectations, and resolving ambivalence regarding donor risk. Societal plight driving caution about living kidney donor assessment was emphasized in the context of poverty and desperation, higher risk of disease, and lack of social security. Navigating sociocultural barriers acknowledged the centrality of the family, economic priorities, distrust in modern medicine, generational traditions, and emotional opacity limiting their ability to gauge donor motivation. Conclusions Moral, professional, sociocultural and societal vulnerabilities contribute to the barriers and ethical quandaries in living kidney donation in Asia. Strategies are needed to address culturally based anxieties and disparities in living donation. Transplant professionals depend on strong legislation and policies to prevent exploitation of living donors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1386-1395
Number of pages10
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jul 2015


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