(HealthDay News) — Living kidney donors experience a wide range of emotions throughout the donation process that influences the lives of donors on several levels, according to a study published online in the Journal of Renal Care.

Hanne Agerskov, PhD, RN, from Odense University Hospital in Denmark, and colleagues conducted interviews with 18 potential living donors throughout the donation process.

The researchers found that a potential donor’s decision to donate was based on a desire to help the recipient. Donors experienced joy, dilemmas, vulnerability, and hope at all stages of the process. Rejected donors felt frustration and disappointment, while the accepted donors felt both joy and vulnerability. Donors report the transition from being a healthy individual to being a surgical patient was an overwhelming experience.

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“The process of donating a kidney and the return to everyday life involved significant experiences of joy, dilemmas, vulnerability, and hope that influenced donors’ lives on physical, psychological, and social levels,” the authors write. “Support and clear communication from the health professionals was essential.”

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Agerskov H, Bistrup C, Ludvigsen MS, and Pedersen BD. Experiences of living kidney donors during the donation process. J Ren Care. 2018 Jan 10. doi: 10.1111/jorc.12233