11 March 2010
By Avanindra Mishra
“In almost 90% of the kidney transplant cases held in Jaipur the donor has been a woman. However, the phenomenon is almost similar across the country,” says Dr Anil Sharma, consultant urologist, Mahatma Gandhi Hospital. “Even as there are cases where a male has donated a kidney for a female friend, such instances are though rare,” he adds.
Doctors say there exists a huge divide among the profile of patients approaching hospitals for transplants . The male recipients constitute nearly 80% of the total living donor transplants, among these 64% of the males receive the organ from a close female relative, while only in 8% cases kidney is donated by a male to female patient.
Medical research has established that a successful transplant and proper postoperational care can enable both the donor and the recipient lead a long healthy life, yet kidney donation remains a major challenge. In many cases it has also been observed that the female recipient has registered reluctance to allow donation from her male relatives.
Even as doctors are unable to comment on the reason for the wide disparity among donors, the phenomenon is attributed to the practice of sexual discrimination. However, the doctors refuse to term it as exploitation. “It might be due to various combined factors, including socio-cultural aspects. However, in most cases women volunteer as males show hesitation,” says another doctor.
A study of nearly 680 living donor transplants in India between 2001 and 2005 has established the gender imbalance. It was discovered that of the 682 recipients, more than 600 were males while there were 451 women donors and only 231 male donors. Of these nearly 550 organ donors were biologically related to the patient, while 118 spousal and only 12 were unrelated. Among the living biologically-related donors mothers formed the biggest lot while in the spousal category nearly 90% donors were wives of the patient.