Living anonymous kidney donation: what does the public think?

Transplantation. 2001 Jun 15;71(11):1690-6. doi: 10.1097/00007890-200106150-00034.


Background: Health professionals are increasingly turning to living organ donation to augment cadaveric donation. Although living donation is currently performed with donors who are either genetically or emotionally related to the recipient, a 1997 British Columbia Transplant Society survey indicated that 32% of BC residents would be willing to donate a kidney, while alive, to a stranger (unpublished data). The goal of this study is to tap the public pulse about the living anonymous donor (LAD) by replicating and expanding the 1997 findings.

Methods: Five hundred BC residents completed a telephone survey including demographic information, questions about their organ donation behaviors and attitudes, and their willingness to donate a kidney, while alive, to particular individuals (child, spouse, parent, relative, friend, and stranger). To improve the methodological rigor of the 1997 study, an informed condition was added in the current study where participants learned about living donation before being asked about their willingness to donate.

Results: There were no differences among the 1997 results and the two conditions in the 2000 survey. Twenty-eight percent of participants in the uninformed condition and 29% of participants in the informed condition indicated that they would be willing to be LADs. LADs were more likely than self-reported non-donors to have registered as cadaveric donors and to endorse attitudes that were congruent with wanting to donate to a stranger.

Conclusions: This study replicates the 1997 findings and increases confidence that a significant minority of British Columbians support living anonymous donation and that some would consider becoming LADs themselves.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Attitude to Health
  • Behavior
  • Cadaver
  • Data Collection
  • Demography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kidney Transplantation*
  • Living Donors*
  • Male
  • Public Opinion*
  • Registries
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Tissue Donors