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“I donated a kidney to my brother, this was the best thing I’ve ever done”

Five years ago, Ugur Karatas (50) felt he had no other option but to donate his kidney to his younger brother. He has never regretted this decision since. According to him, it is the best thing he has ever done. “It’s a wonderful experience to give another person the opportunity to regain their life. My brother will live to see his boys grow old and can be a loving and valuable husband to my sister-in-law, all thanks to my kidney.” 

“There was never a moment of doubt in my mind to become a donor to my little brother. Years ago I watched my other brother die   in my arms of a stroke. I had never felt so powerless and I swore then and there that I would never feel so powerless ever again in my life. So when my younger brother got ill of his polycystic kidney disease, he knew who to turn to. And luckily my kidney turned out to be a perfect match, a twin kidney as they called it jokingly. If everything goes well, he will be able to grow old with my kidney.”


“Although I was always a 100 percent sure of my decision, I did go through difficult phases. Donating a kidney is a long process of tests, procedures and decisions. On top of that there is a lot of time in between the decision of donating and the actual donation. You start to wonder about everything. I have two children, a wife, a life and I can only donate one kidney. What if something happens to one of my own children? After all, we were told that the polycystic kidneys of my brother was due to a hereditary disease. And it really is a hereditary disease because now my sister is suffering from polycystic kidneys as well. I have to deal with the knowledge that I will never be able to give her a kidney. I can’t do for her what I did for my little brother. And that is a bitter pill to swallow sometimes.”


“It took me three months to recover completely from the operation. I had never had surgery before and afterwards I suffered a lot from my settling intestines. The first few times I drove a car, I felt like something was missing. But my brother seem to be more than fine! The kidney made him into a whole new person. He was so sick before the operation when of course I was in perfect health. It was my healthy body that had been cut into and his unhealthy one that had been healed. I have never felt bad about it, though. My nephew, who was ten at the time, made sure of that. On the day after the operation he gave me a drawing on which he had written: ‘Uncle Ugur, you are an angel.’ Well that more than makes up for a bit of trouble whilst driving my car, now doesn’t it? And that is why I really mean what I say when I say: it’s the best thing I’ve ever done.”