Attitudes surrounding organ donation in relation to gender in Ireland

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McGill, Lindsey
Issue Date
BA (Hons) in Social Science
Dublin Business School
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The lack of organs available for donation all over the world is a serious issue. Without these organs, people in need of them are unable to live a life that is of the quality that they desire. In many cases, the result of there not being enough organs to meet demand is fatal. This study began with the intention of finding what the general attitude towards organ donation in Ireland was, and whether there was a difference in attitudes between males and females. We expected to find that there would be a significant difference in attitudes between the genders, and that females would hold a more positive attitude than men on this topic. We also inquired as to how people feel about schemes such as the Opt-out system, a practice that has increased the number of organs available in countries such as Spain, and the idea of financial reward in exchange for organ donations, which is a common practice in India. Do people need incentives to donate? Is either gender more inclined to respond to financial incentives in this situation than the other? Do people feel that it is better to assume consent unless a person specifies otherwise? We collected these responses by means of an original questionnaire. 200 people voluntarily participated in the study. Responses were collected on a number of streets in Dublin City Centre, as well as Navan town centre, and the small country town of Kells, Co. Meath. A range of locations meant that it was more likely that the results we collected were not accidental, or influenced location. Our results show that the connection between gender and attitude towards organ donation is more complicated than we had expected. Significant differences were found in relation to donating after death, attitude towards the possible introduction of an Opt-out system and whether they would consent to the donation of a family member’s organs, but there were no significant differences found between genders in their responses to donating in health, whether a financial incentive would make them more inclined to donate and whether they were more inclined to donate to a family member than they were a stranger. The findings of this study have presented a multitude of issues, such as the lack of organ donor card holders in Ireland that, ideally, would be studied in greater detail at a later date. Author keywords: Organ donation, gender