Introduction: Unspecified (altruistic) donation is becoming increasingly popular in the UK. Concerns persist about donor motivations, regret and long-term psychosocial outcomes. The aims of this study were to compare physical and psychosocial outcomes in unspecified altruistic donors (UD) vs. Specified (directed) donors (SD).
Methods: All 117 UK unspecified donors donating between 2007 until July 2012 were sent a postal questionnaire containing 12 pre-validated psychosocial outcome measures and self-designed questions specific to donation. A SD comparison group was similarly recruited from a single London centre. The UD sample was also asked about motivation, regret and anonymity.
Results: 134 responses were received (85 UD vs.49 SD; 50.6%). UD were older (58yrs vs. 49yrs; p<0.001), predominantly white (97.6% vs. 79.6%; p<0.05) and had donated more recently (1.58yrs vs. 2.65yrs; p<0.001). 46 UD (54.1%) received an acknowledgement from their recipient following donation. Of those who did not, 90% had wanted to receive one. 15% had corresponded further with their recipient; being initiated by the donor in one third of cases. Very few had met face-to-face (2.4%) but had not regretted it. 55 (65%) donors had found out what happened to their kidney and 12 (22%) had regretted doing so. UD were most motivated to donate by a feeling that surgery would have minimal impact on them when compared to the benefit for the recipient (48.2%). Psychosocial outcomes demonstrated lower social support and social rank in the UD group (p<0.001). Factors, such as mood, anxiety and self-esteem, were not significantly different. UD demonstrated more altruistic behaviours, such as organ donor registration and volunteer work (p<0.05). UD felt less supported in their decision to donate (p<0.05).
Discussion: This study shows that although an acknowledgement of donation is preferred, only a minority of unspecified donors wish to establish long-term contact or meet their recipient. No donors regretted meeting but a significant number had regretted knowing the outcome. There are comparable psychosocial outcomes between both groups, however unspecified donors continue to demonstrate lower social rank and social support.
To cite this abstract in AMA style:Maple H, Chilcot J, Burnapp L, Santhouse A, Weinman J, Mamode N. Analysis of Motivation and Anonymity in 117 Unspecified (Altruistic) Donors in the UK [abstract]. Am J Transplant. 2013; 13 (suppl 5). https://atcmeetingabstracts.com/abstract/analysis-of-motivation-and-anonymity-in-117-unspecified-altruistic-donors-in-the-uk/. Accessed November 30, 2023.
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