The essence of living parental liver donation

Anna Forsberg, Madeleine Nilsson, Marie Krantz, Michael Olausson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The use of living parental liver donors will continue and probably increase because of lack of cadaveric livers for paediatric transplantation and the excellent graft survival of parental livers. Therefore, it is important for the health care professionals involved in living parental liver donation to understand the experience of being a liver donor. The aim of this study was to investigate the expressed deeper feelings of parents who donated a part of their liver to their own child. The study took the form of in-depth interviews with 11 donors. All donors were biological parents of the recipient, nine fathers and two mothers. The interpretive phenomenology method was used, and interpretive analysis was carried out in three interrelated processes in line with Benner. Data collection was guided by the researcher's preliminary understanding of the donor experience from being involved in the surgery and care of the donors as well as the paediatric recipients. However, the research question was approached from the perspective of holistic care for the donor. In this study, the essence of living parental liver donation was found to be the struggle for holistic confirmation. There were three categories leading to this central theme; the total lack of choice, facing the fear of death and the transition from health to illness. There was total agreement among the respondents that there is no choice when it comes to the question of donation. The findings in this study stress the importance of organizing the parental liver donation programme with as much focus on the donor as on the child. Based on the results of this study, several clinical implications are suggested for the formation of guidelines for living parental liver donation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)372-380
JournalPediatric Transplantation
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2004
Externally publishedYes

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Nursing
  • Medical Ethics


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