Aim: To determine whether consent to corneal donation is related to which next of kin is asked to consent, the age of the potential donor and the indication about donation made by the deceased on their driving licence.
Method: The Lions New South Wales Eye Bank (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia) provides the corneal transplantation service for Australia’s most populous state. Over the 18-month period from 1 July 2004 to 31 December 2005 for all requests for donation, records were kept of which next of kin was asked for consent, the age of the deceased and the indication about donation by the deceased on their driving licence.
Results: Over the 18-month study period, 841 people were approached about corneal donation. 63.2% of those people approached gave their consent to donation. Increasing age of the deceased was significantly positively associated with consent to donation (p = 0.006). Multivariable univariate analysis adjusting for age of deceased showed that relative type was strongly associated with consent (p<0.001), with mothers and fathers more likely to donate than siblings, and siblings more likely to donate than children and spouses. An indication of willingness to donate on a driving licence was strongly associated with consent (p<0.001).
Conclusions: Higher consent rates from older donors have implications for policies to maximise corneal procurement. The decision to donate on behalf of a deceased family member is complex and influenced by social context. Research should investigate individualised strategies to be used when seeking consent from particular categories of next of kin.
- NSW, New South Wales
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Published Online First 9 August 2006
Competing interests: None declared.