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Possible Motivating Factors for People to Donate a Kidney to Strangers

More than 93,000 people are on the kidney transplant waiting list as of 2019, according to the Living Kidney Donor Network. Companies like Thynk Capital work to raise money to fund research into genetic testing and more effective treatment for serious chronic illnesses like end-stage renal failure. Founder Jim Plante has a particular interest in that particular disease since it runs in his family. The possibility of one day being able to modify the genetic structure to prevent the illness is intriguing.

Average Lifespan

Patients receiving dialysis have an average lifespan of about 10 years, although the range is relatively broad depending on factors like age and other health conditions. Patients who have received a transplant typically live much longer. Those who receive a kidney from a living donor commonly live longer than those who receive an organ from a deceased person.

Better Quality of Life

Transplant recipients are able to live a normal life again without the multiple dialysis treatments required each week. Dialysis is time-consuming, inconvenient and tiring. Dialysis patients also must eat a very restricted diet since their kidneys do not function.

Motivating Factors

Medical professionals, psychologists and sociologists are interested in learning what motivates men and women to become living donors for people they have never even met. Donating a kidney to a relative or close friend is significantly more likely. The number of individuals willing to donate a kidney for a substantial sum of money has also been studied, although that practice is illegal in the United States. During academic surveys, more than half of respondents say they would donate a kidney for a minimum of $50,000.

However, some men and women have donated kidneys to strangers, saying they felt it was the right thing to do since they were a good match in regard to blood and tissue type. Some mention having known a person who died of kidney failure before being able to get a transplant. They may have known this person or the family well and have always felt sad about what happened. If they can help another individual and family avoid this tragic result, they are willing to do so.