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.