Is donating a kidney to a friend bad for your marriage?
Studies have shown that kidney donation to a spouse has a positive impact on marriage. This study was done to evaluate the impact on marriage when donation occurs to someone other than the spouse. Two groups of donors from our centre who donated around the same period were studied: donation to a spouse (spouse donor (SD)) or to someone other than the spouse (non-spouse donor (ND)). A survey, the Revised Dyadic Adjustment Scale, was used to evaluate the effect of donation on the marriage. This tool consists of 14 questions that measure how satisfying and stable the relationship is. The results showed equal or better marriage scores in the ND group compared with the SD group. The NDs scored higher on two questions, one regarding agreement or disagreement on career choices (P = 0.05) and the other regarding the frequency of having stimulating exchanges of ideas with one's spouse (P = 0.02). With the highest possible total score of 69, NDs scored 53.4 and SDs scored 47.7 (P = 0.16). Scores of 47 and below indicate marital distress. In one final additional question, 97% of NDs reported 'no change or good effect' on the marriage, similar to 91% for SDs (P = 0.46). This is the first study to evaluate the effect of kidney donation on the state of marriage when the spouse is not the recipient. It appears that marriage is not impacted negatively when kidney donation occurs to someone other than the spouse.