My sister needs my kidney, but my wife says NO! My wife and I have been having an ongoing argument about whether I should give my sister a kidney. My sister has been sick for awhile and is now in need of a transplant. Out of our eight siblings, I am the only match. Of course everyone in my family is encouraging me to help my sister and at first I thought it was a no-brainer. I come from a close-knit family and helping each other is what we do. But now my wife has a problem with it and doesn’t want me to go through with the surgery. She has always had an issue with how close I am to my family, especially my mother and my sisters. She thinks that I am being manipulated. She keeps telling me that we have our own family and that they cannot risk losing me. She also argues that if she or one of our children ever needed a kidney and I was the only match that I only had one left. I admit, I think she has a valid point, but I still want to help my sister who also has children and a family of her own. I don’t like having to choose between my wife and my family.
Dear Organ Donor:
Deciding to become an organ donor is a very personal decision. I can imagine that you are in an even tougher position having to choose between possibly saving the life of someone you love and at the same time possibly destroying a relationship with another person that you have vowed to love for the rest of your life. As a wife and mother I do understand your wife’s concern for your safety. Her concerns for your immediate family are legitimate. However I believe that our family responsibility extends beyond our own household. Your sister is asking you to do something that could not only save her life but help her to continue be there for family as well.
Though I am not in your position, I do not think I would be able to deny saving a life today, especially that of someone that I love, because of another life I might be able to save in the future. Does that make any sense? In other words, you do not know what the future holds for your wife or children. The possibility of them needing a transplant is a big “what if.” The possibility of you being a donor match, even for your own children, is an even bigger “what if.” I am not trying to make light of the situation, especially if your family has a history of kidney failure or other diseases that can result in kidney failure and these concerns are legitimate. Keeping this in mind, I think your sister is truly blessed to have found a family member that is a donor match. Many people wait for ages on a donor list and never find a match.
It is a big decision. I think you and your wife need to have more conversation about this and she really needs to lay aside any feelings of resentment or jealousy that she has toward your sister and family. These feelings should not be a factor in saving another person’s life. It may be wise to have a family meeting and allow everyone to clear the air, discuss the underlying issues, and possibly heal some old wounds. Your wife is your primary relationship, but I believe in families helping one another and sticking together.
Tamara Hartley is Your Advice Guru and author of REAL Advice from REAL Experience: Advice, Tips and Strategies for Your Life, Relationships, and Career. She uses her personal life experiences and lessons learned to give others a different perspective and help them make critical decisions in their life, relationships and careers. She is also a personal success coach and works with individuals to find balance, make moves, and live their dreams. Email questions to advice@YourAdviceGuru.com. Follow Tamara on Twitter @DrTamaraHartley. Learn more about her coaching programs at www.YourPersonalSuccessCoach.com.