What is living donation?
Living donation takes place when a living person donates an organ (or part of an organ) for transplantation to another person. Thanks to improved medications, a genetic link between the donor and recipient is no longer required to ensure a successful transplant. In some cases, living donation may even be from a stranger, which is called anonymous or non-directed donation.
Who can be a living kidney donor?
To donate a kidney, you must be in good physical and mental health. As a general rule, you should be 18 years or older. You must also have normal kidney function. There are some medical conditions that could prevent you from being a living donor.These include having uncontrolled high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, HIV, hepatitis, or acute infections.
What are the advantages of living donation over deceased donation?
A kidney from a living donor usually functions immediately, because the kidney is out of the body for a very short time. Some deceased donor kidneys do not function immediately, and as a result, the patient may require dialysis until the kidney starts to function.
Potential donors are tested ahead of time to find the donor who is most compatible with the recipient. The transplant can take place at a time convenient for both the donor and recipient.
What happens after I sign up?
Potential donors are medically and psychologically screened to make sure they are healthy and free of disease.
What is the surgical procedure?
Organs are removed by traditional surgery. Kidneys also may be removed by laparoscopic surgery, in which surgical tools are inserted through small incisions in the abdomen.
More about laparoscopic surgery
What is the risk?
All surgery involves risk; in this surgery it is minimal. In most cases, donors return to their normal activities in several weeks. Living with only one kidney poses little danger.
The costs-which include all tests, doctors’ bills and hospital fees-are paid by Medicare or by the recipient’s insurance.
To learn more about being a donor read this informative guide.
What if I’m not a match?
There is a program called a Living Donor Paired Kidney Exchange. A paired kidney exchange, also known as a “kidney swap” occurs when a living kidney donor is incompatible with the recipient, and so exchanges kidneys with another donor/recipient pair. Two live donor transplants would occur. surgery involves risk; in this surgery it is minimal. In most cases, donors return to their normal activities in several weeks. Living with only one kidney poses little danger.
Rhode Island Hospital Transplant Center