Can family attributes explain the racial disparity in living kidney donation?

Transplant Proc. 2007 Jun;39(5):1376-80. doi: 10.1016/j.transproceed.2007.03.017.


Background: Living donation is a safe, effective treatment for patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD), yet rates of live kidney donation remain low. Potential transplant recipients may be more inclined to ask a family member for a living donation if they feel familial closeness.

Methods: The FACES II and the Living Organ Donor Survey were administered to patients attending pretransplant education to assess individual perceptions of family structure and willingness to request a living kidney donation from a family member.

Results: A total of 328 potential transplant recipients were included in the study: 200 (61%) African American and 128 (39%) Caucasian. Approximately half were willing to ask for a living donation. Individual's perception of family cohesion, adaptability, and type as measured by FACES II showed most families were mid-range with optimal cohesion and adaptability. Family cohesion and adaptability showed no association with being willing to request a live donation, but those single/never married were only half as likely to ask for donation (odds Ratio [OR] 0.51; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.31-0.86, P = .01). Lower education (beta = -0.49) and unmarried status (beta = -0.31) predicted a lower cohesion score.

Conclusion: Family type, cohesion, and adaptability showed no differences across race and was not related to the potential recipient's willingness to ask for a live donation. Although responses by race did not differ, an important finding showed that only half of ESRD patients are willing to ask for a live organ donation, and those patients that were single/never married were less likely to ask for a living donation. Research surrounding this reluctance is warranted.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Blacks / statistics & numerical data
  • Family
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / psychology
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / surgery
  • Kidney*
  • Living Donors / psychology
  • Living Donors / statistics & numerical data*
  • Male
  • Pain
  • Racial Groups*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Whites / statistics & numerical data