Behind the headlines
Barry's been on dialysis for two years
'Making life a little easier'
Spousal donations are still rare in the UK. In 2008, 180 took place, the majority of which were wife to husband donations. Later this year, Hazel Adams from Creech St Michael plans to donate one of her kidneys to her husband Barry.
Barry was diagnosed with acute kidney failure four years ago.
In September 2007 Barry and Hazel attended a presentation in Bristol about the subject of family donations, one of which included an interview of a couple where the wife donated to her husband.
"We've been married for 46 years and just to make life a little bit easier I was quite interested in doing it," said Hazel.
"We didn't want our children doing it - they had offered when Barry had been on kidney dialysis but they've got their lives before them with their families, so I decided I would have a go."
They're going through the necessary tests and if it goes to plan the couple will undergo surgery later this year.
"I was just so pleased, there were no qualms about it. That was her choice and if she hadn't suggested it, I would probably have gone onto the transplant list in the normal way, which wouldn't worry me, but it didn't cause us any problems."
'Not very invasive'
There are two main forms of dialysis.
During haemodialysis the blood is taken from the patients's circulation, passed through an artificial kidney and returned to the patient.
In peritoneal dialysis, the internal lining of the abdomen acts as the artificial kidney.
"I've been on home dialysis since September of last year (2007), various tablet treatments and checks with the doctors on a regular basis, blood tests but the main treatment has been with the dialysis.
"I'm dialysing on what they call CAPD as opposed to haemodialysis, which is the one most people know about, where the blood is changed, washed.
"I have to put some liquid into my body and that draws out my toxins in the same way the haemodialysis would have done. I get rid of that, replenish it with fresh liquid four times a day, which roughly takes me about 40 minutes each time, so it's not very invasive on my time.
"Certainly compared with having to go to hospital or the dialysis centre several times a week, that is quite restrictive, but if that's the situation you have to get used to it.
"It suits me, that's not to say I've got a choice, but if things deteriorated I would end up on haemodialysis. It's not a problem for me, I can fit it into my lifestyle, we're retired. I can go on holiday and take it with me," said Barry.
Although Barry and Hazel are both 70 years old, their age wasn't a deciding factor on their suitability for either donating or receiving an organ.
"If you're a fit person and there's nothing wrong with you, there's no reason why you can't do it," said Hazel.
Barry said he was coming to the end of the necessary tests, but neither know how many more tests Hazel will have to take before the go-ahead is given.
"No-one has said at this stage, yes we can go ahead, but that's not a negative view really. All they're saying is we've got to do these tests, you understand that, yes. They'll come forward with a view at the end of the tests.
"We're quite relaxed about that - that's for both of our benefit."
The couple hope the operation will take place later this year.
Hazel said: "I just hope I'm okay. I am 70, so I've enjoyed my life, I know hopefully I've got a few more years before me, but no I'm just quite happy to go ahead and do it."
last updated: 15/01/2009 at 09:24