Much previous research into living kidney donation has focused on the decision-making of the donor, despite evidence suggesting this may be a more psychologically challenging time for the recipient. This longitudinal study explores the experiences of four recipients of kidneys from living donors throughout the transplant process. Transcripts were analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis. Three themes arose from the data, which were as follows: changing perceptions of relationships with kidney donors; upbeat, temporal strategies for remaining positive and journey of the self. Findings from the first theme are presented in detail here. It was found that each participants' relationship with their donor grew and developed in different ways, presenting their own complex challenges in terms of developing relationships and ambiguity around the decision to use the chosen donor.
Keywords: illness; interpretative phenomenological analysis; kidney; organ transplant; qualitative methods.