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The gift of life

Thomas Baldwin examines the area of altruistic kidney donation.

THERE are currently more than 5000 people in the UK, including 400 in Scotland, on the National Transplant List because they need a kidney – often having to spend hours every week hooked up to dialysis machines while they wait for a suitable match. The average kidney transplant waiting time for a child is six to 12 months, but for some it can be up to five years.

Yet, for many, it doesn’t have to be like that. Humans can live perfectly well with only one kidney, and transplants from live donors have been performed in Scotland since 1960. In the past 10 years, more than 500 people in Scotland have become living kidney donors.

And while most donors know the recipient of their kidney – giving to a partner, friend or child – a growing number of people are offering to be ‘altruistic’ donors – giving to someone on the list whom they do not know.

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About Life and Work

In this month's issue: Scotland's Crosses - the oldest Christian symbols ‘My journey has been long and difficult’ - Rev Boitumelo Johanna Gaborone, a minister with the Uniting Presbyterian Church of Southern Africa The Kirk, The Festival and The Fringe - The Church of Scotland’s role in the history of the Edinburgh Festival and Fringe