Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

M. Eng.


Industrial Engineering

Degree Program

Industrial Engineering, MS

Committee Chair

Saleem, Jason

Committee Member

Parikh, Pratik

Committee Member

Gentili, Monica

Committee Member

Hieb, Jeffrey

Author's Keywords

Human Factors; Kidney Donation; Human Factors Engineering; Semi Structured Interviews


There is strong interest in increasing living kidney donation, as the need for kidney transplants is quite high. Although previous studies outline some barriers and facilitators associated with donating, living kidney donation comprises only a small percentage of overall kidney transplants and thus further research on factors influencing the decision to donate is needed to find ways to increase the donor pool. Ten semi-structured interviews of living kidney donors were completed and analyzed for common themes that either support the current literature or surface additional barriers and facilitators. In addition, a systematic review and analysis of social medial support groups for living kidney donors was completed to further the findings of barriers and facilitators to living kidney donation. Both sets of data were segmented into codable elements and then abstracted into recurrent, overarching themes, from which study findings were derived. Several barriers and facilitators emerged from both data sets and are organized using a sociotechnical systems framework. The facilitators included: (1) an informative, caring, and available care team; (2) having a healthy body prior to donation; (3) being in a good place financially before donating; (4) living kidney donation does not have to be to a friend or family; (5) on the flip side, knowing the recipient may encourage donation; (6) seeing a successful kidney transplant prior to donating; (7) hearing other people’s successful transplant stories can be encouraging/motivating to a potential donor; (8) being well informed is an important part to making the decision to donate; (9) potential donor watches the recipient’s health decline; (10) personal beliefs can further a person’s decisions; (11) the kidney exchange is available for those are not a direct match to the intended recipient; (12) there is heavy testing done to ensure someone is a good candidate as a donor; (13) knowing and understanding the kidney exchange program; and (14) being a part of a social support group for living kidney donors. The barriers included: (1) negative mental health during the process; (2) a kidney donor cannot take Advil/ibuprofen after donating; (3) outside pressure is not wanted by donors; (4) there are short term negative effects following the weeks and months after donation; (5) not being prepared for post-transplant expectations by their team; (6) mental health prior to donating can decline; and (7) not being able to find long-term studies on donors. Corresponding suggestions are offered for how to encourage others to consider donation and increase the living donor pool, as well as to ensure donor’s health and safety during the process. This thesis was part of an Institutional Review Board (IRB)-approved study with the University of Louisville’s Department of Industrial Engineering and School of Medicine.