Kidney Living Donor
Banner Good Samaritan Transplant Services is dedicated to providing the best care available to patients who are Kidney Living Donors.
We also offer a Paired Kidney Donation Program that works with individuals who wish to give a kidney to their loved one, but cannot because they are incompatible. In paired donation, the donor and recipient are matched with another incompatible donor/recipient pair and the kidneys are exchanged between the pairs.
Greatest Chance of Success
A kidney from a living donor has many advantages, including:
- The recipient does not need to wait for a deceased kidney to become available.
- Living-donor kidneys are less likely to be lost to rejection and will usually last much longer than deceased-donor kidneys.
- The transplant can be done when the donor and the recipient are in the best possible physical and emotional state.
- The transplant can be done at a convenient time for everyone.
Becoming a living kidney donor:
- Who can be a living donor?
- How are living donors evaluated?
- What happens during the donor surgery?
- Is the donor at risk?
- What happens after surgery?
Who can be a living donor?
There are many different factors to consider among potential donors:
- Relationship: Living donors can be related to the recipient; extended family members or friends may also be donors.
- Age: Kidney donors must be at least 18 years of age and usually are under 60 years of age. However, potential donors up to age 65 may be considered.
- Health: People with kidney disease, heart disease, diabetes, hepatitis, morbid obesity or HIV cannot donate a kidney. People with a history of cancer, alcohol, drug abuse, high blood pressure or kidney stones will require further evaluation.
It is normal to feel some fear about donating a kidney or to feel guilty about not wanting to donate. Your feelings about donation will be kept confidential. The transplant team wants you to make your decision free from family or other pressure. If there is more than one possible donor and no advantage to using one in particular, potential donors should decide among themselves who will donate. The transplant team can help you make the decision, but we cannot make the decision.
How are living donors evaluated?
We extensively evaulate potential donors to protect them from unneccessary surgery. Possible living donors are first tested to make sure their blood type is compatible with the recipient’s blood type.
Tests may be completed at a number of places such as the donor’s family doctor’s office, Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center, or other convenient location.
The transplant coordinator and social worker will assist the donor through each step of the donation process, making sure the donor is fully informed about the process, risks involved and is free of coercion. The transplant nutritionist will offer nutritional guidance before the surgery.
What happens during the donor surgery?
The surgery to remove a kidney for transplant takes about two to three hours and usually patients stay in the hospital two or three days after the procedure.
During the donor's surgery, the kidney is usually removed through an approximately three-inches incision close to the belly button. The kidney is removed and stored for a short time until it is transplanted.
Is the donor at risk?
Even though kidney donors have to be in good health, it is important to understand there is always some risk involved with any type of surgery. but less then one percent of donors have major complications. Studies show that it is a safe procedure for healthy, normal individuals. Other considerations:
- Donation does not cause harm to the remaining kidney
- Kidney donors are at no greater risk for kidney-related illnesses
- Donating a kidney does not change life expectancy
- Studies have proven that women with a single kidney can complete a safe pregnancy.
What happens during recovery?
You will be taken to the recovery room until you are awake and then be moved to a hospital room. Donors and recipients do not share hospital rooms, since they have very different needs. Your recovery is as important as the recipient's and you will recover more quickly if you concentrate on your own health needs.
Recovery time varies with each person. The incision will be painful after surgery; however medications are given to help with the pain. Pain medicine is usually not needed after one to two weeks.
Many donors return to work in two to six weeks depending on the type of work they do. No medications are routinely needed. There are no long-term changes in your diet. We recommend that all kidney donors see their doctor once a year for a routine check-up. This should include a physical, blood pressure check, urinalysis, and basic blood tests.
As you think about becoming a kidney donor, think about the financial implications. Donors do not have to pay for evaluation, surgery, hospitalization or physician care. However, non-medical expenses such as lost wages, and transportation costs are not covered. The financial coordinator will meet with the donor to answer questions about Medicare, insurance and other financial issues.