PURPOSE Living kidney donation offers many advantages, both from a medical and societal point of view. However, there is a group of patients that cannot or will not make use of the living kidney donation program. The purpose of the study ‘Living Kidney donation: psychological and ethical aspects’ is to gain insight into the knowledge and acceptance of this form of kidney transplantation. The group we investigate is the group that actually is eligible for living kidney donation / transplantation, namely (1) patients with end stage renal disease on the transplantation waiting list and (2) the persons in their close environment, the potential donors. Investigating these groups is the strategy to find out if, and under what circumstances, expansion of the living kidney donation program is feasible and ethically acceptable. RESEARCH QUESTIONS The project comprises two research questions. The first research question is: what are the psychological barriers for living kidney donation for the patients and the people in their close environment? The second research question is: what are the moral arguments to deal or actively or passively with the persons in the close environment of the patients who are the potential donors? In other words, to what extent are interventions morally acceptable? DESIGN PATIENTS We have approached the group of patients on the waiting list for a kidney transplant (region of the Erasmus University Medical Center). We asked the patients for permission to approach individuals in their personal environment, the potential donors. If both (patient and relative of patient) agreed on this, we interviewed these potential donors as well. We also included a control group in our study. This group consists of patients and their actual donors who have planned to undergo living kidney donation/transplantation in the near future and had already made arrangements together with their clinicians. INTERVIEW All participants in our study were interviewed by means of a semi-structured interview. Former research has shown various variables that influence willingness to undergo living kidney donation / transplantation. These variables are included in the interview: · Sociodemographic and medical variables · Knowledge and information · Acceptance of, and argument about of living kidney donation · Communication with the specialist and the personal environment · Risk perception · Expectations regarding the personal relationship between patient and donor. ETHICAL ANALYSIS Ethical analysis is based on the results of the empirical part of the study. Reasoning as found in the empirical part of the study is tested for ethical justification, using ethical theory on the structure of argumentation especially the theories as formulated by Toulmin, Rawls and Nagel. BEREIKTE RESULTATEN/NIEUWE INZICHTEN The willingness to accept the offer of a living kidney donor is very high for patients in the group of interest: only 19% has a negative attitude towards ling donation. Thus, it is not a matter of unwillingness of the patients to accept a living kidney donor. We found a number of differences between the group of interest and the control group. A notable finding is that the communication about kidney donation in the control group is almost always initiated by the donor : being offered a kidney (or not) seems to be decisive for either or not pursuing living kidney donation. Patients find it very difficult to bring up the topic them selves. Ethical analysis shows that the arguments or objections against living kidney donation as raised by the group of interest can be refuted. This adds to the moral acceptability of interventions in the situation of patients on the waiting list for transplantation who do not enter the living kidney donation program initially.

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Medical Psychology and Psychotherapy: Reports
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Kranenburg, L., Hilhorst, M., Zuidema, W., van der Kroft, P., IJzermans, J., Weimar, W., … Passchier, J. (2006). Living Kidney Donation: Psychological and Ethical Aspects. Medical Psychology and Psychotherapy: Reports. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/1765/9606