The Gendered Body Work of Muslim Arab Mothers Who Donate a Kidney to Their Children

Mahdi Tarabeih, Ya'arit Bokek-Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Purpose: Previous studies showed that among the pediatric ESRD patients who receive a kidney donation from a parent, in most cases the mother is the one that agrees to donate her kidney to the sick child, whereas fathers are less willing to donate. The present study sought to explore decision making regarding which parent would donate a kidney to their child among Muslim Arab parents of pediatric ESRD patients. Design and methods: The study design is a cross sectional qualitative study. We conducted semi-structured interviews with thirty-one parents: twenty-five mothers and six fathers, who donated a kidney to their child. Results: Parents tended to refrain from donating a kidney to a sick daughter; mothers were more willing to donate than fathers. Our findings imply that culturally constructed notions of gender and motherhood are mobilized to the realm of health and illness, and mothers' body work is an influential factor in determining survival chances of pediatric ESRD patients and their quality of life. Conclusions: Our study shows that kidney donation made by mothers to their children represents a gendered body work and powerfully demonstrate gender relations in Arab society. Cultural artefacts shape parents' differential propensity to donate organs for a female or a male offspring. Practice implications: It is recommended that the nursing staff enlist the help of Muslim clerics to increase the willingness of fathers to donate a kidney for their offspring, and also to encourage both parents to donate a kidney to a sick daughter. Education campaigns are needed to raise awareness and encourage changes in the attitudes of the Muslim families of pediatric ESRD patients toward parental kidney donation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e68-e73
JournalJournal of Pediatric Nursing
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier Inc.


  • Arab
  • Kidney donation
  • Live donor
  • Muslim
  • Transplantation


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