Anonymity: What does it mean and why is it important to anonymous living liver donors? : Liver Transplantation

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Anonymity: What does it mean and why is it important to anonymous living liver donors?

Humar, Sapna*; Jung, Judy; Krause, Sandra; Selzner, Nazia; Abbey, Susan

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Liver Transplantation 28(8):p 1299-1305, August 2022. | DOI: 10.1002/lt.26445


Anonymous living organ donation has recently become more common in select transplantation programs, with donors voluntarily offering a kidney or a lobe of their liver to those in need. These anonymous donations may be directed to a specific recipient or nondirected, and anonymity may be one way or reciprocal. Given their unique situation, we interviewed a cohort of anonymous living liver donors and explored their opinions surrounding anonymity and its implications in living liver donation. A total of 26 anonymous donors completed a semistructured qualitative interview consisting of questions regarding their experiences as a living liver donor. The interviews were audio‐recorded, transcribed, and analyzed for common themes, specifically those pertaining to the donor’s perceptions and experiences with anonymity. Five main themes related to anonymity were identified: (1) the moral importance of an unencumbered gift, (2) wanting internal satisfaction rather than seeking external accolades, (3) anonymity as a protection against potential negative outcomes in the recipient, (4) feelings of ambivalence toward meeting the recipient, and (5) concerns about negative perceptions among their own friends and family. These insights into the range of donors’ attitudes toward anonymity will help improve awareness and provide the best possible mental and physical care for the anonymous donor.

© 2022 American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases.

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