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Should Your Adult Child Be Your Kidney Donor?

by Darla
(Santa Fe)

I am a 69 year old female who has been on peritoneal dialysis for five years. When I found out that I was ESRD at level 4, my nephrologist went ahead and placed me on the transplant list at Methodist Hospital, Houston.


My husband eagerly volunteered and went through a physical to become a donor. Since his blood type did not match mine, we joined the UNOS swap program and were so excited. Having a very small family, this gave me two chances for transplant.

We were excited every time the phone rang and constantly watched for that certain number to come up on the phones. After three years, it never happened. The doctors were encouraging and we both would go in for evaluations every year.

Then, my husband developed a few of his own medical problems and had to go off of the swap list, leaving me just waiting for a cadaver kidney. Two more years have passed, and still no kidney.

During these five years I have been through all of the medical processes to continue of PD dialysis, prevent anemia, having a low immune system, aches, pains, discomfort, shots, and vitamins, monthly check-ups, and monthly blood work even with all of those things, I am doing quit well, but I know I am not getting any younger and my chances are getting slimmer and slimmer.

I have one son whom is now thirty years old. He does have the same blood type, but from the beginning of all of this, I have rejected his volunteer of donor for me. As a mom, my heart can not accept for some reason that is hard to explain. His life was just beginning and I felt like it was wrong to take from his something so valuable, since I originally gave it to him. Can anyone understand these feelings.

It is just the three of us and now, since I know my time for kidney is running out, the thought of accepting a kidney from him has entered the picture several times, however; it is such an emotional thought for me that I feel just horrible thinking about it. Is it okay to ask, or accept such a gift? I know other adult children have given to a parent, but in my heart it is so hard for me to think about it. He is willing, but I am not yet there. Has anyone been faced with this situation and what was the outcome?

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Feb 24, 2020
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feel the same way
by: darla

thank you for your prayers and I will do the same.
I am glad to have someone who knows what I am talking about in regards to accepting "The gift" from an adult child. I have been told by the top surgeons that since my age and time on dialysis puts me in a low percentage for allocation, my best chance would be the donation from my son. Once a person donates, if they ever have kidney problems, they go to the top of the list. The are monitored afterwards for a while and really will live very normally with only one kidney. I think it is the Mom things, really and that is what is so hard. Still considering it. thanks

Feb 23, 2020
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Feel the same way
by: Anonymous

I have yet to start on dialysis (I am stage 4), but my daughter and i have talked about this. She and I have the same blood type. I feel the exact same why. What would happen if she gave me a kidney then she developed kidney problems. I would feel terrible (understatement). I have time for now and hopefully I will not have to make that decision. I will keep you in my prayers.

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