Till recently a majority of recorded kidney donations came from women. It was a sudden crisis for Prem Pydah, a banker and father of two, last April. His wife Meena was diagnosed with advanced renal failure and her only hope was a kidney transplant. Time was running out and an ideal donor was hard to find.
Without batting an eyelid, Prem decided to donate one of his kidneys to his wife. It's something that few men do in India, though the reasons are often social factors such as the man being the only earning member.
In any transplant, the biggest problem is the risk of rejection of the transplanted organ by the recipient's body. But because both Prem and Meena had the same blood group, the rejection chance was minimal. After month-long tests, the transplant was successfully carried out.
According to doctors, a new trend has now surfaced. More men are coming forward to donate their kidneys to save women suffering from renal failure. Till recently, a majority of recorded kidney donations came from the wife.
According to Fortis Hospital, out of the 75 renal transplants done there, 49 were female donors (65.3%), 58 (77.3%) recipients were males and 17 (22.7%) recipients were females. Out of these 17 females, eight (47%) received kidneys from male donors. While five of the donors (62.5%) were brothers of the patient, one each was from father, husband and uncle. This is in contrast to the hospital's previous record where 85-90% donors used to be females while the percentage of female recipients getting kidneys from male donors was abysmally low at 8-10%.
According to Dr Vishal Saxena of Fortis, men in India, especially husbands, were yet to wake up to donating their kidneys. However, brothers seem to be more forthright. "The number of brothers donating one of their kidneys to their sisters has increased by almost 40% in the past few months. This is extremely encouraging. However, husbands are still not eager even though male donation has increased."
Prem told TOI, "It is unfortunate that Indian men think their life to be more important than their partner's. Instead of willingly donating their kidney, if need be, to save her, they waste time scouting for a foreign donor. Brothers are fast waking up to this responsibility."
According to Dr Vijay Kher, director of nephrology at Fortis, earlier due to social pressure often the wife donated her kidney as the husband was usually the earning member. Dr Harsh Johri, head of renal transplant surgery at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, said: "The number of kidney donations by male members of a family has actually doubled." Doctors said one of the main reasons for the increase is the government's new law, making swapping of vital organs between willing but incompatible donors legal. It greatly helps patients who have relatives willing to donate but are unable to do so because their organs are medically incompatible for the recipient.
The rule till recently restricted organ transplantation to people having blood relationship (father, mother, son, daughter, wife, husband, sister and brother), near and distant relatives.
Swapping of organs was one of the recommendations made by a six-member committee appointed by Delhi HC to look into changes needed in the human organ transplantation rules, framed under the Transplantation of Human Organs Act, 1994.
Social factors ensured that men didn't donate kidneys, as they were the only earning members
Doctors said one of the main reasons for the increase is the new law making swapping of vital organs between willing but incompatible donors legal
In India, 1.5 lakh new patients get end-stage renal failure every year. Of these, only 3,500 undergo kidney transplants