Live kidney donation is generally viewed as a welcome treatment option for severe kidney disease. However, there is a disparity in the body of research on donor experiences and postdonation outcome, and lack of knowledge on long-term consequences described by the donors. This study was conducted to provide insight into donors' subjective meanings and interpretation of their experiences ~10 years after donation.
Qualitative explorative in-depth interviews. The sampling strategy employed maximum variation. Setting Oslo University Hospital is the national centre for organ transplantation and donation in Norway, and there are 26 local nephrology centres.
16 donors representing all parts of Norway who donated a kidney in 2001–2004 participated in the study. The interviews were analysed using an interpretative approach.
The analysis resulted in 4 main themes; the recipient outcome justified long-term experiences, family dynamics—tension still under the surface, ambivalence—healthy versus the need for regular follow-up, and life must go on. These themes reflect the complexity of live kidney donation, which fluctuated from positive experiences such as pride and feeling privileged to adverse experiences such as altered family relationships or reduced health.
Live kidney donors seemed to possess resilient qualities that enabled them to address the long-term consequences of donation. The challenge is to provide more uniform information about long-term consequences. In future research, resilient qualities could be a topic to explore in live donation.