The increase in patients using public solicitation (PS) to find a living kidney donor has generated a debate about the ethical complexities of PS. To investigate why patients engaged in PS and what they experienced during PS, we conducted semistructured interviews with 20 Dutch patients with end-stage renal disease who had publicly solicited a living donor. Transcripts were thematically analyzed. We identified ten themes on patients' considerations preceding PS: cautiousness in discussing living donation within social network; reluctance to accept a kidney from loved ones; rejection/withdrawal of related donor candidates; moral objections to paid donation; the ease of social media; encouraged by others; ends justifying the means; despair and urge to take action; public disclosure of vulnerability; fear of being (perceived to be) selfish. We identified nine themes on patients' experiences: positive emotions and support generated by action; genuine and ulterior motives for donation; patients acting as educators and screeners; time- and energy-consuming process; emotionally taxing process; positive interactions with donor candidates; feeling of dependency and obligation; limited cooperation from health professionals; demands a proactive attitude and media strategy. These results can inform and complement (existing) policies on PS and provide content for education of patients who are considering PS.

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This research was funded by a research grant provided by the Dutch Kidney Foundation (SWO14.04),
Transplant International
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Pronk, M., Slaats, D., Zuidema, W., Hilhorst, M., Dor, F., Betjes, M., … Massey, E. (2017). "What if this is my chance to save my life?". Transplant International. doi:10.1111/tri.13095