Interested in Becoming a Living Donor?
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What is Living Kidney Donation?
This is when a person, related or unrelated, donates a kidney for transplantation into another person.
Why is Living Donation Important?
More than 93,000 people are waiting for a kidney transplant across the United States, according to the United Network of Organ Sharing (unos.org). About 45 percent of patients who are listed for a kidney transplant will receive an organ from a living donor.
Advantages of living donation:
- Improved organ and patient survival rates
- A shorter waiting period for the transplant recipient
- An ability to plan the transplant well in advance.
Who Can Be a Living Donor?
Potential donors are individually considered for their suitability as a donor.
A potential donor must be 21 years or older, generally in good health and free from:
- Diabetes type I or II
- High blood pressure
- Currently diagnosed with cancer (with the exception of skin cancer)
- Kidney disease
- Heart disease
- Mental health disorders treated with two or more medications
- BMI (body mass index) above 35
- Infectious diseases such as active Hepatitis, HIV or AIDS.
What is the Process?
- The kidney transplant team reviews your health history questionnaire. You may be contacted for further information.
- Before testing begins, your recipient must be approved for kidney transplantation.
- If the team approves you to proceed, you will be contacted to begin testing, which will require multiple appointments with our transplant team.
- Blood tests
- Social worker evaluation
- Living donor advocate assessment
- Transplant nephrologist consult
- Transplant surgical consult
- Transplant coordinator education.
Based on your age and sex, additional testing may be required:
- Heart stress test
- Pap smear
- Other tests based on your individual evaluation.
What is the Process?
Before you can become a living donor, you must go through a health screening to determine if you are a candidate for kidney donation. The kidney transplant team will review your completed health history questionnaire.
Where Can I Find Additional Information?
INTEGRIS Nazih Zuhdi Transplant Institute video channel:
General information about living donation:
Kidney transplant statistics:
Financial resources for living donation:
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the cost of being a living donor?
The cost of the living donation (evaluation, surgery and follow up) is covered by the recipient’s insurance. However, the recipient’s insurance will not cover your time off work, travel or other out of pocket costs accrued. In addition, the donor cannot receive payment for the donation. In 1984, the U.S. Congress passed the National Transplant Act, which makes it illegal to buy or sell organs.
How long will I be off work?
The evaluation process will likely take three to five clinic visits. The donation is typically a three to four day hospital stay Depending on the type of work and surgical procedure, you may be required to be off work up to eight weeks. Many of our patients return to work earlier.
What if I change my mind?
Living donation is a completely voluntary procedure. Donors should be free of guilt or pressure in association with the donation. If at any time before the surgery you decide that living donation is not in your best interest, then we will stop the evaluation process. Your decision to withdraw from evaluation will be kept confidential.
How do I know if I’m a match?
Potential donors must have compatible blood types with their recipient. If the blood types are not compatible, the donor and recipient pair has the option of enrolling in the paired kidney donation program. Cross-matching: a blood sample will be used to test the recipient’s reactivity to your blood.
What if I live out of state?
Potential donors who live out of state will have limited testing that is available to them unless a local kidney transplant facility in your state is available and willing to set up testing for you.