Study conducted by Radha Malattiri said almost 75 per cent of donors related to the recipients were women while more than 75 per cent of the recipients were men

Women constitute the majority of renal donors in the State. However, a recent study found an alarming disparity in the gender of renal donors. Almost 75 per cent of the donors related to the recipients were women while more than 75 per cent of the recipients were men.

The study conducted by Radha Malattiri, who is trained in Bio Ethics, along with her mentor Nandini K. Kumar, titled ‘Gender Disparity in Indian Renal Transplantation,’ and approved by the Institutional Ethics Committee of the Malabar Institute of Medical Sciences in Kozhikode has been based on data on renal transplantation obtained from transplantation centres across the State.

The study has found that the majority of living-related donors were family members of the affected patients, with a definite female gender disparity among donors and recipients. This disparity was absent in the case of living-unrelated donors, however, where only 31% were females.

Similar studies

The study is backed by similar studies conducted internationally, where gender disparities in renal transplantation have been well documented. The high rate of kidney donation by women has raised concern about exploitation and coercion. The studies have documented the exploitation of the poor by middlemen and healthcare professionals in the Indian subcontinent. They hint that women may be at a higher risk to donate due to social and economic factors such as higher income of men or poverty and diminished job opportunities, as well as emotional factors, such as feelings of obligation or a sense of dependency.

In Kerala, however, valid and reliable data on gender disparities in renal donation and transplantation were unavailable due to lack of published data.

Remedial measures

The researchers have pointed out the need for more data to educate the government and the public about this problem and inform them about measures to address gender disparities in donor and recipient selection.

They have suggested that the existing practice in the organ transplantation process be reviewed in order to eliminate the donor- gender disparity.