Psychosocial factors in living organ donation: clinical and ethical challenges

Sheila G. Jowsey, Terry D. Schneekloth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Living donor surgery has come to the forefront of public attention because increasing numbers of potential donors respond to the organ shortage. Because of several factors including decreased morbidity from donor surgery, online resources appealing for organs, and increased publicity about donation, new populations of unrelated donors are seeking evaluation for donor surgery. However, concern about potential coercion of vulnerable individuals, the potential for adverse psychosocial outcomes, and recent reports of donor deaths have reinvigorated discussion within the medical community about how best to assess donors. Research on the long-term quality of life outcomes for donors suggests that most donors are satisfied with their decision to donate. Small single-center studies on psychosocial outcomes have reported psychiatric sequelae after donor surgery. Little is known about the psychosocial outcomes for donors who are psychosocially excluded from donating. A multidisciplinary team approach, including social work and psychiatry evaluations, allows for the comprehensive assessment of important areas including motivation and expectations about surgery, current and past psychiatric conditions, history of substance or alcohol abuse, family support, understanding of the risks and alternatives of donor surgery for the donor and recipient, and motivation for donation including any evidence of coercion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)192-195
Number of pages4
JournalTransplantation Reviews
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Transplantation


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