Kidney donors

When it comes to donating a kidney to keep the spouse or an offspring alive, women are more likely to do so than men. It is a worldwide trend, though more pronounced in developing countries. This has come out in a study by International Society of Nephrology (ISN) and International Federation of Kidney Foundations. Released on Thursday to coincide with both World Kidney Day and International Women’s Day, the study shows that in Canada, 58 percent of living kidney donors are women, while in the US, the corresponding figure is 63 percent females. The same gender imbalance has been noted in several European countries on donating kidneys. Researchers are divided as to why this should be so. Some believe women are just more altruistic; or in some cultures they are ‘vulnerable to subtle pressures’ to help family members in need; or because in some economies they don’t hold full-time jobs and therefore end up donating a kidney to their breadwinner husbands. However, some other researchers see gender stereotyping in such explanations — they believe the reasons are primarily biological. Women are often in better health than men as they age, which might make them better candidates for kidney donation. Conversely, men are lesser donors, because they are more prone to hypertension and cardiovascular diseases. Worldwide, 14 percent of women suffer from chronic kidney disease (CKD) compared with 12 percent of men; women with serious CKD tend to live longer than men and it takes them longer to reach the critical stage when a transplant is required. The sad fact to emerge from the study is that while women are better kidney donors, they are less likely to receive one — almost two-thirds of kidney transplant recipients are men.