Should all living donors be treated equally?

Transplantation. 2002 Aug 15;74(3):418-21; discussion 421-2. doi: 10.1097/00007890-200208150-00025.


Recently, Matas et al. described a protocol to accept as potential donors altruistic strangers who offer to donate a kidney to any patient on the waiting list. The selection of donors would be the same as the process they use for living, emotionally related donors, except that the full work-up would have to be done at their institution and would include a detailed psychosocial evaluation. In this article, we present a case that raised the question of whether the medical standards for nonemotionally related donors should be the same as the standards for emotionally related donors. We argue that we must distinguish between the altruistic donation by a stranger and the voluntary donation by an emotionally related individual. We argue that voluntary donations have a degree of moral obligation based on intimacy and that intimacy allows, but does not require, that these donors take on slightly additional risk.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Ethics, Medical*
  • Family
  • Humans
  • Kidney Transplantation / standards
  • Kidney Transplantation / statistics & numerical data
  • Living Donors*
  • Male
  • Quality Assurance, Health Care
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk-Taking
  • Waiting Lists