Opinions of Dutch Liver Transplant Recipients on Anonymity of Organ Donation and Direct Contact With the Donors Family

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Abstract

Background

In the Netherlands, anonymity of organ donation, which is currently protected by legislation, has come under discussion. In the Dutch society, a tendency to allow direct contact between transplant recipients and their donor’s family is noticeable. As little is known about the opinion of Dutch liver transplant recipients on anonymity of organ donation and direct contact with the donor’s family, this study examines their opinions.

Methods

A cross-sectional study was conducted in 244 liver transplant recipients. Their opinions were examined in relation to demographic, transplant-related and emotional variables. Data were collected by questionnaire. Transplant-related variables were retrieved from the hospital’s liver transplant database.

Results

Fifty-three percent of the respondents (n = 177) agreed with anonymity of organ donation, mainly out of respect for the donor. Living situation, age, and level of positive affect influenced this opinion. The majority of the respondents (65%) indicated that they would like to receive some information about their donor, like age, sex, and health status. Only 19% of the respondents favored direct contact with the donor’s family, mainly to express their gratitude personally. Respondents transplanted for alcoholic cirrhosis were less in favor of direct contact. Respondents with feelings of guilt doubted more about direct contact.

Conclusion

There is no need to change the current legislation on anonymity of organ donation. However, most liver transplant recipients would like to receive some general information about their donor. Therefore, clear guidelines on the sharing of donor data with recipients need to be established.

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