Decision-Making Process for Living Kidney Donors


  • Myungsun Yi

    Corresponding author
    1. Myungsun Yi, RN, DNS, Lambda Alpha-at-Large, Associate Professor, College of Nursing, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea
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Dr. Yi, College of Nursing, Seoul National University, 28 Yongon-Dong, Chongno-Gu, Seoul, 110–799, Korea. Email:


Purpose: To explore what people experienced when deciding to donate a kidney and to explore associated issues and concerns when they made their decisions.

Design: Grounded theory.

Methods: The data were collected in Korea through semi-structured individual interviews in 1998–1999. A purposeful sample of 14 living kidney donors participated. All interviews were audiotaped and were transcribed verbatim. Constant comparative analysis was done using the NUD*IST4.0 software program.

Findings: “Wishing to give (a kidney)” was the core category integrating the six subcategories: motives, intervening conditions, inhibiting factors, facilitating factors, donor characteristics, and consequences. Two phases in the decision-making were the deliberation phase and the execution phase. Three decision-making types related to the intensity of “wishing to give” are: high intensity as voluntary type, medium as compromising type, and low as passive type.

Conclusions: The decision to donate a kidney was described as a highly complicated process involving not only the medical but also psychological, interpersonal, familial, and financial concerns.