7, March 2010
By Pratibha Masand
In most live kidney transplants, women are the donors. “A mother always comes forward to donate. For them, only their children matter. We also see wives coming forward to donate. Sisters are less frequent, as most of the time they have their own families who do not allow the donation,” said Dr Sailesh Raina, urological surgeon, Jaslok Hospital. He aded that 80% of kidney donors were women in transplants done at Jaslok last year.
Deepa Patel, of Malad, was on dialysis for eight years before receiving a kidney from her mother–in–law, Shantaben Patel, 68, who lives in Jogeshwari. “Deepa doesn’t have her parents. She has four siblings. Due to reasons of their own, they couldn’t donate. She kept refusing to take my kidney for eight years. But in August 2007, I finally gave her my kidney,” said Shantaben. Deepa said, “There might be hardly any mother–in–laws who would have done such a thing.”
Around 300 live transplants were done in Mumbai last year.
According to Narmada Kidney Foundation, an NGO, 143 of 186 donors were women in transplants done in Mumbai from November 2008 to November 2009. “The information is available from only a few hospitals. But even otherwise, the trend is the same for other cities in India,” said Jyoti Nagda, a counsellor with the foundation.
Santosh Devangan, 35, who has a nuclear family in Pune, started having pain while urinating two years ago. A checkup revealed shrivelling kidneys. After two years of medication, the doctors advised a transplant. Santosh has four sisters who were ready to donate to their only brother, but his mother Mewavati prevailed upon them all. “My daughters have their own lives to live. Why should they donate when I am around? I have lived my whole life for my children and wouldn’t mind giving it up for them either,” said Mewavati, who came from Bilaspur to give her son the invaluable gift.
Doctors said that many times the ‘housewife’ factor comes into the picture. “People feel that if a family member is earning, he shouldn’t give his kidney. The perception of women in India is that as housewives they don’t do much physical work and should donate a kidney. But it’s a myth that after giving a kidney one’s health is affected or they can do less physical work. The men should take this as an example,” said Dr M M Bahadur, nephrologist, Jaslok Hospital.