An intersectional gender analysis in kidney transplantation: women who donate a kidney.

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Living-donor transplantation is the best treatment option in patients with chronic kidney failure. Global data show that women are less likely to be kidney recipients than men but are more likely to become living kidney donors. We explored the experience of women who donate a kidney to relatives with biological and socio-cultural ties and to understand the similarities and differences in their experience.A qualitative hermeneutic phenomenological study with an intersectional analysis of gender. Ten women donors accepted in the transplant evaluation period participated, all of whom donated a kidney to a pre-dialysis relative. Two categories were included: women with biological kinship ties (mothers, sisters) and women who have a socio-cultural relationship (wives) with kidney recipient. The data were collected through semi-structured in-depth interviews and analysed using thematic analysis.Women donate their kidneys in a convinced manner, without worrying about their health, with an optimistic and positive attitude, and without believing that they are acting heroically. Women with biological kinship ties see it as a ‘naturalization thing’. In contrast, wives donate conditioned by gender roles, but also as a form of empowerment and as a personal benefit: they donate in order to avoid taking on carer role for their husband and as a way of protecting their children.The study’s findings expand the conception of kidney donation as solely altruistic and may help professionals to pay attention to the complexity and intersectionality of features present in women who are living kidney donors.

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Authors: Laura Rota-Musoll, Serena Brigidi, Esmeralda Molina-Robles, Ester Oriol-Vila, Laureano Perez-Oller, Mireia Subirana-Casacuberta