TORONTO – A woman who has already donated eggs, a kidney and part of her liver to strangers is now hoping to donate a lung.
Sue Gianstefani—who lives in south London—gave a kidney to an elderly man in the U.S., her eggs to a childless couple from Australia and part of her liver to a sick young boy in the UK.
The 47-year-old’s journey began in 2001 when she posted an ad online offering a “no strings attached” kidney if her travel and living expenses were paid.
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Then 60-year-old Larry Rosenfield, who suffered from a genetic kidney disorder, responded. When tests revealed that Gianstefani was a match, he flew her to the US. The pair eventually had to travel to Wisconsin for the operation after surgeons where Rosenfield lived in Colorado refused to carry out the procedure.
The operation was a success and a now 73-year-old Rosenfield is active and healthy.
“You don’t need two kidneys, a lot of people are born with only one. Why not give one to someone who needs it?,” she told the Daily Mail.
Gianstefani also donated 27 eggs to an Australian couple. Gianstefani said she is aware that three eggs had been fertilized but has since lost contact with the couple and does not know if they ever successfully had a child.
While altruistic organ donations became legal in 2006 in the UK, the law does not apply to lung donations.
Experts say that undergoing numerous living donation surgeries can put a patient’s life at risk. Some operations are riskier than others, and can include infection, bleeding, blood clots or death.
Gianstefani said despite the dangers, her husband and 19-year-old son support her fully.
“Many people are willing to kill for what they believe in; why not allow people who are willing to take personal risks do what they believe in to save a life? said Gianstefani. “Some of my friends don’t understand but I’ll never regret it. It’s about changing lives. It’s a great feeling.”
© Shaw Media, 2014