The Human Tissue Authority recently approved the 3,000th living transplant in three years – most of these were kidney donors. Living related transplants form an increasingly important proportion of all kidney transplants.
Remarkably, a growing number of these are coming from ordinary people who have no relationship to the recipient of their kidney – ‘altruistic donors’. It seems to be getting easier to do this, but saying that you’re going to give one of your kidneys to an unknown stranger does seem to upset some people, even friends and family.
Altruistic kidney donation only became legal in the UK in 2008; 15 were approved in 2008/9 and that looks like being exceeded again this year. These very generous, wonderful people have made a huge difference to many lives – not just the recipients, each time a transplant is done. Here are some tremendous stories from four of them:
There are lots of sites on the web about altruistic donation, but if you’re thinking of it, go to your doctor, and best to mention it to your family too.