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Altruistic nondirected kidney donation: attitudes, characteristics and ethical implications

Ehlers, Majaa,*; Vitinius, Franka,*; Langenbach, Michaelb

Current Opinion in Organ Transplantation: December 2017 - Volume 22 - Issue 6 - p 584–587
doi: 10.1097/MOT.0000000000000462

Purpose of review Altruistic nondirected kidney donation involves a person donating one of their kidneys to an unknown recipient. The donor's mental health and motives are frequently questioned. We want to highlight this topic and also encourage discussions about ethical implications.

Recent findings The main topics are the mental health of altruistic nondirected kidney donors and the general attitude towards the practice of this form of donation as well as the willingness of the public to donate this way. Soliciting organ donation via social networks or financial support is debated extensively in the media.

Summary There is a lack of studies on altruistic nondirected kidney donation. Most studies focus on related donors. Studies with larger samples should be performed on altruistic nondirected kidney donors to learn more about their motives and assess their mental health.

aDepartment of Psychosomatics and Psychotherapy, University Hospital of Cologne, Cologne

bDepartment of Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy, GFO Clinics Bonn, Bonn, Germany

Correspondence to Dr Frank Vitinius, Department of Psychosomatics and Psychotherapy, University Hospital of Cologne, Kerpener Str. 62, 50937 Koeln, Germany. E-mail:

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