Hyderabad: Women donors account for 87% of all kidney donors and only 22% are men, according to the National Organ Donation and Tissue Transplant Organisation registry of kidney living donors. Gender bias continues to rule in the world of kidney donations as it is not only the family but also the medical fraternity who find only women donors. Doctors state that when they start talking about donation to the first degree relatives, men are often found to say that they are busy and the earning members of the family. It is only the women who come forward for donation.
According to a study published in Indian Journal of Nephrology, women are often cajoled and emotionally blackmailed and there is also tremendous pressure on them to donate for the family members. But when it comes to a woman requiring a transplant, husbands are often found to say, “I am the bread earner. How can I also fall ill? How will the family survive?”
These are the common questions faced in medical circles and also by transplant co-ordinators. A transplant co-ordinator in a private hospital in the city, on condition of anonymity, explained, “The bread earner argument is so often heard in the transplant sessions that we have got used to it. When a man is in trouble, it is mostly the woman who is ‘made willing’ to donate. Neither of them officially states so as there is tremendous social pressure. It comes from the sentiment of sacrifice for the family. When the roles are reversed, we find the same story where the woman says that her husband cannot donate as he has the burden of managing the full family. There are very few sensible men who come forward and are willing to donate.”
The other case, where men are found to donate, is when the blood groups do not match and there is no other option but for the sibling to donate. Senior nephrologist at Nizam’s Institute of Medical Sciences, Dr S. B. Raju explained, “We are now seeing men coming forward for donation within the family but the numbers are not as high as expected. This is only in highly conscious and aware families where the men are aware of women’s health problems and are willing to get their blood groups tested first.”
It has often been found that in families where there is a patriarchal outlook, it is mostly the women who are looked upon as natural donors. Dr Pradeep Deshpande, senior nephrologist, said, “This is not a phenomenon only in India. Worldwide it is found that women donors are more than men. The USA registry shows that 60% of donations are by women and in Europe it is found to be 54%. Now there is a lot of stress on the problems faced by women and there is greater awareness.”...