Most people would like to think that, if it came down to it, their other half would be more than happy to donate their kidney to them.
But turns out wives are way more likely to offer up their kidneys to their husband than the other way round. Oh.
A recent study of European donor figures, which includes British data, revealed that 36 per cent of women, that are clinically suitable, go on to donate a kidney to their husband.
That compares to just 6.5 per cent of suitable husbands who donated their kidney to their wives.
And in 2014 two-thirds of all living kidney donors in Europe were women.
So, what’s with the lack of kidney donating men?
Though it isn’t known exactly why there’s such a gender disparity, researchers have a couple of theories.
“Although it is hard to pinpoint a specific reason for higher numbers of wives being donors than husbands, the evidence suggests women are motivated by reasons such as altruism and the desire to help their family continue to survive,” Professor Adeera Levin, International Society of Nephrology Past President, from the University of British Colombia told The Sun.
The data, published in the journal Visceral Medicine to mark International Women’s Day and World Kidney Day, comes as the NHS warns of falling numbers of kidney donations.
NHS Blood and Transplant said the number of living kidney donors had slipped to an eight-year low, with just 990 donors in 2017, a 10 per cent decline on the highest ever year, 2013.
There are currently 4,960 people waiting for a kidney transplant.
Lisa Burnapp, lead nurse for kidney donation at NHS Blood and Transplant, told The Times: “Last year 261 people died waiting for a kidney transplant and many of those lives could have been saved through increased living kidney donation. Living donation has been a major success story for the UK so this decline is worrying.”
“Whilst a higher proportion of female to male donors may be attributed to different choices between women and men, there are other factors that contribute when drawing a comparison,” she told The Sun.
“For example, if a couple have had children together and the man wishes to donate to his female partner, she may have antibodies against him from her pregnancies which would make him an unsuitable donor for her.
“However, if the situation was reversed, the woman would be able to donate to her male partner.”
NHS figures show that 54 per cent of people who donate a kidney to a relative are female, but just 38 per cent of recipients are women.
Of altruistic donations to strangers, 52 per cent are from and to men.
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