Motives and Decision Making of Potential Living Liver Donors: Comparisons Between Gender, Relationships and Ambivalence

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The motives and decision making of potential living liver donors are critical areas for transplant clinicians evaluating these candidates to understand, yet these topics remain relatively unstudied. Thus, we surveyed 77 prospective living liver donors at the point of donation evaluation using structured instruments to gather more information on their approach to and concerns about donation. We collected information on donation decision making, motives for donation and anticipated social and physical concerns about postdonation outcomes. We examined three additional characteristics of donors: gender, the relationship of the donor to the intended recipient and the presence of ambivalence about donation. Women had more concerns about their family/social responsibilities. Those donating to nonimmediate family were more likely to have been asked to donate but less likely to feel they had to donate. However, ambivalent donors were the most distinct having difficulties and concerns across most areas from their motivations for donating, to deciding to be tested and to donate, to concerns about the postdonation outcomes. We discuss the clinical relevance of these findings to donor evaluation and preparation.

In a survey of living liver donor characteristics, the authors find that those with ambivalence about donation experience the most concerns across multiple areas of consideration about donation, take longer to decide to be tested and to proceed with donating, and have more negative expectations about the surgery, their recovery and their long-term health. See editorial by Simpson and Pomfret on page 7.

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