Live kidney donation is in the news

Are your kidneys available to me? - Twelfth and final in a series

hospital ward off limits

A story in the NY Post on 9/23/17 reports that singer-actress Selena Gomez’ kidney transplant may save more lives than her own. Her friend donated a kidney because Selena has Lupus, an illness that can cause kidney failure. “The National Kidney Foundation’s web traffic — including inquiries on how to donate — has surged by 350 percent since the stars’ heart-rending Instagram post on Sept. 14…every day 12 people die waiting for a kidney…”

The 2017 Kidney Disease: Improving Global Outcomes clinical practice guide on the evaluation and care of living kidney donors was published in August. One of its sections on the Ethical and Legal Framework of policy considerations states: Where local laws or policies impede the ethical practice of living donation, avenues to advocate for change should be explored. (18.2)

Here is a video (not recent) where you will hear a Christian lady express her deep conviction that Christ’s death on her behalf encouraged her to give up her kidney to help her husband live.

We have looked at lots of information about live kidney donation in this blog series. This seems to be a good stopping point.

I am a layperson without any post graduate education in ethics or science. Blogging lets us share thoughts and questions, and I hope any passersby will expand the discussion through comments. In a future series I hope to look at more Scriptures relating to this and similar issues.

If God gave us two kidneys why should we think we need only one? According to the Jewish Virtual Library, there may be a need for two kidneys in times of stress. “Under normal conditions, healthy kidneys do not work at their maximum capacity; there is a certain reserve that can be activated in times of stress.”

How far are we from paying kidney donors? We already do pay egg donors. Would you accept $45,000 for one of your kidneys, realizing it would save taxpayers a substantial amount relative to the current practice of Medicaid or Medicare coverage of dialysis for all?

In the previous post, we considered the idea of doing a good work, of sacrificing — playing the odds with our health — to be a live kidney donor. This does not seem wise, for if we risk our health to help someone and end by damaging our own prospects for a healthy life, then we can no longer do many good works at all.

To what extent and in which ways is a Christian his brother or sister’s keeper? If you agree that live kidney donation works in some situations, and we cannot know each specific need, then your generally permissive view may encourage a weaker brother to be moved to compassion to help a friend in need of a kidney. How would you feel about that?

If we go along with the cultural practice which ends by involving destitute people the world over, including prisoners in some countries, to “donate” kidneys for the better-off people, do we bear any responsibility for their tribulations?

How do you feel about movie stars and public figures advocating live kidney donation?

Do you feel your church should have a statement or position on live kidney donation?

Would you be comfortable to say: No live kidney donation, ever. ? Understand — you would only be expressing your own view as a Christian, realizing that not all Christians would go along with your stand, and you would be swimming upstream against the world.


Angel fish
Public Domain, Link

...and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind ... the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind ...the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good. -Genesis 1


A SistersSite eBook

Flesh and Bone and The Protestant Conscience is an e-book on It is 99¢ and in the Amazon lending library as well. It is also available here in PDF format. The book description follows.

Would you let your conscience be your guide?

Does God care if the skin and bone of the dead are passed along to the living for medical uses? Is organ donation OK with God? Should you sign a Living Will?

Did you know that dead organ donors are often anesthetized before their organs are removed? Do you know the current definition of death? The conscience cannot function without facts.

As we ponder the ethics of in vitro fertilization, stem cell research and man-made chimeras, our thoughts trail off. How then should we live? (Ez 33:10)

How should a Christian think about euthanasia by starvation when doctors and the state attorney general all agree it is time to withhold feeding from a brain injured patient? Some things are family matters, but someday it may be our family.

Here is a small book to help you think about whether you want to sign your driver's license, donate a kidney, cremate your loved one, and many other practical questions that may arise in the course of your healthcare decisions or watch over others.

It offers a special focus on the doctrine of the Resurrection that is related to such decisions. Sunday School classes and Bible Study groups could use this book to facilitate discussion about the issues covered.