Donating Your Kidney to Someone in Need
With more than 90,000 people nationwide waiting to receive a kidney transplant, the wait for a new organ can be long. To shorten the time, family, friends, co-workers, and even strangers can offer to be living kidney donors.
Kidney donors graciously donate one of their two kidneys for a transplant. Drugs that prevent the body from rejecting a donor kidney are so effective that a donor organ does not always need to be a match in tissue type with the recipient (however, the donor’s and recipient’s blood types must be compatible).
If a living donor and the intended recipient do not have compatible blood types, the paired exchange option may still allow them the opportunity to donate and the recipient to receive a living donor kidney transplant.
Living kidney donations are scheduled in advance, with the donation and transplantation procedures occurring on the same day, often in adjacent operating rooms. Minimally invasive surgical techniques mean you will only spend two or three days in the hospital recovering from the procedure, and your remaining kidney will efficiently meet all of your body’s needs.
Deciding to Donate
Becoming a living kidney donor is an individual decision. It is important to learn as much as possible so you know the risks and benefits.
Living kidney donors should be:
- In good overall physical and mental health
- Be older than 18 years of age
Medical conditions such as uncontrolled high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, certain infections, or an uncontrolled psychiatric condition may prevent you from being a living donor.
Potential donors will undergo a series of tests and consultations to determine if you are eligible to donate. These include blood, imaging, and heart tests, as well as a meeting with our living donor team who will determine if you meet the candidacy criteria for living kidney donation. The donor team includes a kidney physician, surgeon, nurse coordinator, social worker, dietitian, and pharmacist.
Who Pays for My Surgery?
There is no financial benefit to donating your kidney.
Most medical expenses associated with living-donor kidney transplants are covered by the recipient’s insurance. Depending on financial eligibility, donors may quality for some assistance covering travel, living expenses, and other non-medical costs related to the donation.
Life After Donation
Research shows that there are few, if any, long-term effects on a living kidney donor. In general, you’ll be able to get back to most pre-donation activities in four to five weeks.
It will be important for you to have annual checkups with your doctor and go to any follow-up appointments with the post-transplant team.
Begin the Process
If you are interested in donating a kidney, call 856-796-9370 to speak to a living donor coordinator. If you meet the initial criteria for kidney donation, you will be scheduled for an evaluation.