Family Matters When Donating

African American kidney transplant donors more likely to donate to family members

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Family is important to almost every culture around the world. When it comes to live kidney donation, it seems that family is especially important for African Americans.

African Americans are more likely than whites to donate their kidneys to members of their family. Whites, on the other hand, are more likely to be unrelated to the person receiving their live kidney transplant.

"Donating a kidney can save a life."

According to lead author Amber Reeves-Daniel, D.O., of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, there are many African Americans who are on dialysis and need a new kidney. Yet, these patients often have less of a chance of receiving a living donor kidney transplant, compared to other groups.

One key to balancing this inequality is recruiting more donors. In order to get more living donors, it is important to understand what drives people to donate a kidney. Part of that understanding involves knowing who donates to whom.

Dr. Reeves-Daniel and colleagues wanted to see if the relationship between live kidney donors and recipients was different for African Americans than it was for whites.

They found that the donor-recipient relationship was very different for African American donors, compared to white donors.

African American donors almost solely donated to their family. In contrast, whites were more likely to donate their kidney to recipients outside of their family.

African American donors were more likely than whites to donate to their parents. However, African American parents were less likely to donate a kidney to their children.

One of the most surprising findings, says Dr. Reeves-Daniel, was that most African American donors were men who were younger than white donors.

For their study, the researchers looked at the medical records 73 African American and 324 white living kidney donors.

The findings of the study may give health care professionals more insight into the what motivates people to donate for a living kidney transplant. Understanding the motivation could help those in the transplant community find more living transplant donors. More research on this same topic could reveal even more recruitment strategies for finding donors.

The study is published in the journal Clinical Transplantation.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
October 25, 2011
Last Updated:
October 29, 2011