Gender inequity in access to hemodialysis and kidney transplantation has created a public health crisis in the US. Women have a lower chance of receiving hemodialysis and kidney transplant than men, but they constitute the majority of living kidney donors. Research has shown that economic factors such as greater income of men may encourage females to be donors; while gender-bias on part of physicians or institutions, lack of social support networks and differences in health-seeking behaviors compared to men are cited as reasons for this imbalance. We suggest various strategies to improve participation of women in the transplant process by education; raising awareness by publishing gender-specific data for dialysis and transplant centers; education and workshops to eliminate gender-bias within institutions and health-care providers and establishment of gender-specific support groups. Transplant teams that are more sensitive to the social complexities of women's lives may lead to increased understanding of the effects of renal disease and indicate measures that need to be in place in order to address this gender disparity in the treatment of renal failure. Research needs to be done to elucidate the underlying medical, societal or psychological processes that lead to gender bias in the field of kidney transplantation.
Copyright (c) 2005 S. Karger AG, Basel.