I am an Orthodox Jewish woman who donated a kidney altruistically to a stranger. Since my kidney donation I have been wanting to do more. So, I now have a project to help others who are in need of a kidney. My brother donated a kidney as well, to someone on my list of people in need of a kidney.
My project is endorsed by Rabbi Dovid Goldwasser of Brooklyn, New York. He says about kidney donation that it is “Of the greatest gifts humanly possible…the reward is immeasurable.”
I don’t know how anyone would want to get paid for kidney donation, even if they are poor. How would that person feel after using up the money? I think many, if not most, would feel pretty low.
By the way, I haven’t encountered any Rabbis against living kidney donation. Sometimes people have personal issues – like if they are married and a spouse is reluctant on letting them do this – then they may decide to ask a Rabbi. I understand that. But, if one wants to donate a kidney to save a person’s life, what is the question, when you know it’s halachically permissible? Like I said, if you have other personal issues then this makes more sense.
Anyone who donates a kidney has to be in good health – for example, one should not have cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, hepatits c, etc. Anyhow, before anyone donates a kidney – everyone has to go through medical testing to make sure they are healthy enough to do this. They are given medical tests that one may not otherwise take in their lifetime. Many lives have been saved through this medical testing, by people who have been tested to donate a kidney. People found out that they had medical issues that they may have never found out or may have found out later on in their life, when it could have been too late. For example, a young person found out he had cancer through one of the medical tests to donate a kidney. He didn’t know. Had no symptoms. The cancer was removed and was fine afterwards. Had he not offered to be tested to donate a kidney to someone else, the cancer could have spread which could have resulted in him going for chemotherapy, or worse. So, many lives of people wanting to donate a kidney, have been saved, by their wanting to save another life! So, in the end, most of these people have not been able to donate a kidney in tbut at least their life has been saved!
I am in touch with many, Orthodox Jewish people who have donated a kidney – most of them Ultra-Orthodox and from the Ultra Orthodox, most are Chassidim. Many of these kidney donors have large families. And they didn’t get paid for their kidney donation. .Anyhow – all of us are doing great, Boruch Hashem, none of us have any regrets, and some of us wish we can do it again!
If you have not yet donated a kidney and are interested in donating a kidney altruistically (not asking for money), please feel free to contact me. I can also put you in touch with others who donated kidneys as well.
P.S. See Lori Palatnik’s story,”A Kidney to Give” on the Aish.com website. I had made her kidney match.