This nationwide survey investigated the actual practices for supporting and confirming the decision-making involved in related living-organ donations in Japan, focusing on organ type and program size differences. Answers to a questionnaire survey were collected from 89 of the 126 (71%) kidney and 30 of the 35 (86%) liver transplantation programs in Japan that were involved in living-donor transplantations in 2013. In 70% of the kidney and 90% of the liver transplantation programs, all donors underwent “third-party” interviews to confirm their voluntariness. The most common third parties were psychiatrists (90% and 83%, respectively). Many programs engaged in practices to support decision-making by donor candidates, including guaranteeing the right to withdraw consent to donate (70% and 100%, respectively) and prescribing a set “cooling-off period” (88% and 100%, respectively). Most donors were offered care by mental health specialists (86% and 93%, respectively). Third parties were designated by more of the larger kidney transplant programs compared with the smaller programs. In conclusion, the actual practices supporting and confirming the decision to donate a living organ varied depending on the organ concerned and the number of patients in the program.
This nationwide survey demonstrates the actual practices for supporting and confirming donor decision-making in related living organ donations in Japan, and suggests that these practices vary depending on the type of organ and the number of patients in the program.