Renal transplantation in children: psychological and donation-related aspects from the parental perspective

Pediatr Transplant. 2000 Nov;4(4):305-12. doi: 10.1034/j.1399-3046.2000.00135.x.


Parent(s) accompanying their 18 children to the annual medical follow-up after renal transplantation were interviewed by a child psychiatric social worker. Thirteen of the children had received their grafts from one of their parents, two from other relatives, and three from cadaveric donors. The aims of this interview were to study the decision-making process regarding donation, and the consequences, reflections, and psychological reactions from the parental perspective. Although most parents reported improved psychosocial functioning of the family, many parents also reported significant psychological distress, in many cases complicated by unemployment related to the care of the child. Most parent donors reported that the relationship with their child had improved. For most parents, the decision about the donation seemed to have been a matter of course. However, the process may have induced suffering in those parents who had felt obliged to donate. Thus, questions regarding donation must be approached in a professional and non-judgmental manner when parents are informed about the preconditions of transplantation. The present results indicate a need of psychosocial support for all families during the transplantation process. Therefore, a psychologist and a social worker have been included in the pediatric nephrology team at our unit. The donors also require further information concerning the operative details as well as in regard to the post-operative pain.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Communication
  • Decision Making
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Interview, Psychological
  • Kidney Transplantation* / psychology
  • Parents / psychology*
  • Social Support
  • Stress, Psychological
  • Sweden
  • Tissue Donors*
  • Unemployment