A mother with two children who both need kidney transplants hopes the dilemma of which one to give her organ to will be taken “out of her hands”.
Sarah Bingham’s son Noah, 20, and daughter Ariel, 16, have the same rare genetic condition and she is a donor match for both.
Mrs Bingham, of Hexham, Northumberland, said her kidney would go to whichever of her children needed it first.
Her husband Darryl has a different blood type, so cannot be a donor.
Both Noah and Ariel have nephronophthisis, which causes inflammation and scarring to the kidneys.
She said although her son is “very poorly”, he undergoes regular dialysis and is in a stable condition.
Her daughter’s kidney function “has been deteriorating more in the last year” and she will probably need a transplant first.
‘Feel this dilemma’
Mrs Bingham said: “I was all set to give a kidney to my daughter and then my son went into renal failure and he also needs a kidney. Obviously, I’ve only got one that I can donate.
“The renal teams don’t push you [to make a decision], because you’re putting yourself on the line to donate a kidney.
“You have to make that call yourself, but obviously as a mum when you’ve got two children who both need kidney transplants and you’ve expected to give your kidney to one, and suddenly the other one needs one as well, you feel this dilemma.”
Problems began in 2016 when Ariel started to feel constantly tired.
Her fatigue was initially put down to exam stress, but tests at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary found she had the kidney condition.
Mrs Bingham was told she would be a suitable donor for Ariel when the time came.
Then, in 2019, Noah became ill and was diagnosed with the same condition.
He is stable, but would need to put on weight to undergo a transplant.
The couple have another son Casper, 12, who is being tested to see if he also has the condition.
Mrs Bingham said: “If Ariel was to suddenly deteriorate rapidly, then that decision would almost be taken out of my hands because she would desperately need the transplant.
“Whereas because Noah’s on dialysis that can sustain him until he’s ready for transplant.”
Prof John Sayer, a kidney specialist at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital who is treating Noah, said nephronophthisis affects about one in 100,000 people.
“There’s clearly a dilemma because there’s a shortage of donors for patients needing kidney transplants.
“But kidney failure itself is not rare. There are 4,500 people across the country waiting for a transplant.”
He added patients often face a “gruelling and terrifying” wait of about three years for a donor organ.