Ok, here's the story:

My father has been diagnosed with a disease that is shutting down both of his kidneys. It's no surprise, we've known this since my childhood, but things are getting worse. He's going to need a transplant and several people have tried to donate but were not able to. He is on a waiting list, but chances are he will never receive a kidney that isn't donated from a live candidate. They actually got their pastor at their church to make an announcement to the congregation in hopes someone will come forward that is able to donate a kidney. In the meantime, I have been asked if I would donate if all else fails.

This has got to be the biggest thing that has ever been asked of me. I replied with a no. I don't beleive that with all of my father's other heath issues that it would really even make too much of a difference, It wouldnt really be adding that much time, or even really improve his health enough to make him happy. not to mention I beleive that in this situation, it would seem like a hopeless cause. It also seems kind of weird to me. I guess..it's kind of unatural to think that it is ok to give someone an organ, just so they can squeeze a little more time out of life. Dont get me wrong, as an atheist, I relize that life is precious. it's all we have. But, these people are christian and they are asking such a big thing from me.

Wouldn't their religion comfort them in the fact that he is sort of coming to the point in his life that is supposed to be the most important factor of their faith? I mean..I guess I think that heaven should be seen as the destination here.

This is coming out all wrong...I love my dad and don't want anything to happen to them, but this is so conflicting. To make matters worse, they are making me feel pressured and judged because of my decision.

Pardon the language, but it is making me feel like shit. I feel that just because I am trying to live my own life, I am being selfish. I mean...I already have to do a lot of things for them, I'll have to do even more in the near future. I'll also have to help my mother take care of her father and autistic brother. To top it off...I'm trying to start my "life"...I have a girlfriend who I am planning on marrying, I want kids in the near future and I'm working on trying to find a career.

This is sooo much at once. I wish my parents would actually support me emotionally since I am relatively young and am starting out in life. Instead, all I'm getting from them is pressure.

Any thoughts? Opinions? Advise?

thanks for hearing me vent guys.

Tags: death, life, parents, pressure, religion, transplant

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It is incredibly difficult to try and place myself in your shoes right now. I've thought about the possibility of a similar scenario with my parents, and I've generally resolved to refuse such a request. I've even talked to my parents about this general subject, and they agree -- it's too much of a parent to ask a child.

It is your decision to make; I'm sorry that people in your life are having a hard time respecting that boundary. The fact of the matter is, your dad has been dealt a bad hand. As atheists, we understand that there isn't someone out there governing over the balance of human lives and happiness. Bad things happen to people and they can't always be fixed. Would giving him a kidney really be fixing anything, or what that just be clinging to a sinking ship in desperation? From the sounds of it, it's the latter.

I don't doubt in the slightest that you love your dad, but in this case, it's a massive request. You didn't cause his condition; you are not responsible for the fact that he is dying. That is just reality. I'm all for children helping out their parents in the event that they need it, but there are limits. It's a parent's job to ensure the health and longevity of their children -- their progeny -- and much less so the other way around.

It's your convictions and your body; I think you owe it to yourself to protect both. Maybe your final decision will be difficult and not understood by some, but you'll certainly have my utmost respect if you stay honest with yourself and true to your convictions, regardless of what path you take. You and your family also have my sincerest condolences during such a trying ordeal. I hope everyone can make peace with what comes to pass.

I have a feeling that the only atheist in the family (my self) will probably make peace with what comes to pass the easiest. after all, the root of religion is fear.

Thanks Kris.
That's a tough decision to make. I'm sure that donating a kidney to someone who probably won't benefit from it seems futile, and I would probably make the same decision as you did. I will say though, in case you didn't know, that donating a kidney isn't as big of a health risk as it seems. You have the same risks of any major surgery, and studies have shown that donating a kidney doesn't shorten your life span at all. However, as with any major surgery, the risks are still there, and it's up to you to decide if you want to take those risks.

I hope that everything goes ok for you and your family, and I wish you the best.
there's more to it then the risks that I could possibly face, its a good place to start though.

Shouldn't religious people be extatic that they are close to meeting "god" and entering eternity? Atheists should be terrified of dying, seeing as once we die..we're nothing. Funny how most Atheists I know are ok with death, and people of various religions are terrified.

I don't see anything wrong with you deciding not to undergo life threatening surgery (yes, people have died from "routine" surgeries such as this) so you can live YOUR life. Your father has lived his life. If he believes in god, why is he trying to go against "god's will"... which is that he's supposed to "meet his maker" soon?
"god's will" is a phrase that always comes to mind when I think of this situation.
Hi Jon,

First of all you explained it clearly. Who asked you to donate? I don’t think (sorry for assuming) your father did. It is also possible that he does not want you to donate yours. You need to talk to him in private about it without anyone applying pressure.

You state that you are being selfish. That is rubbish. You are already looking after your family and are willing to continue to do so in the future. You are under pressure – but does anyone else actually help you or are they taking the help you already give for granted and assuming therefore that you should be the one to donate.

You also have responsibilities to yourself and future family. I am sure if your wife or children needed a kidney you would make the choice in less than 5 seconds. You have to consider that someday it could happen.

My partner lost a kidney when she was fifteen. She is in her forties (I mean 39) now and it has made no difference to her or her lifestyle. You will hear many such stories like this. But they are not important. Ignore them. They are about other people – not you. You can live a normal life with one kidney but it is serious albeit routine surgery to remove it. There is some risk involved.

You also need to talk to his doctor in private.
Will the transplant give him a meaningful quality of life for a reasonable number of years?
Do other health factors increase the risk of rejection?
Are you actually compatible?
Will it impact on your quality of life in the future?
Is it hereditary? – you might be glad to have two in the future – or if it skips a generation you might want to donate to your son.

I am trying to be practical so sorry Jon if I sound harsh.

It does seem that time is running out. I spent 3 years minding my father while he died of Parkinson’s. There was no quality of life. It is not worth donating if his life is not dramatically improved. You must not allow others to pressure you any further.

If you decide not to after talking to your father and getting solid medical opinions then you have made the right choice.
Whatever happens after that is out of your hands and your decision will still have been the correct one.

As for the Christians? No comment as their attitude never made much sense to me.
You are correct in assuming that my father was not the one to actually ask me to donate. It was my mother.

"Is it hereditary? – you might be glad to have two in the future – or if it skips a generation you might want to donate to your son."

This is a very good point, because it most likely will skip a generation. I'd give a kidney to my child in a heartbeat.

Practicality and logic is what I am about. Thank you for the suggestions.
Look at the animal kingdom. Who do you think sacrifices for who? The cub for it's mother? Or the mother for it's cub?
I'm pretty sure my parents wouldn't want to live vicariously through me. lol it would be like living in a wrong body.
so...I was talking to my ex girlfriend about my situation. I told her that if it was "god's will" for things to work out, then we could not effect it. She said that it would be god's will if someone gave him a kidney....

what a f*^@ing idiot.

God's "will" always gets credit for scientific achievement. No wonder they dont beleive in evolution.


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