Who Can Donate A Kidney For Transplant
To donate a kidney, you must be in good physical and mental health . As a general rule, you should be 18 years or older . 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 Does A Kidney Transplant Surgery Involve For The Recipient
Before the transplant, the patient will be put under general anesthesiathey will be asleep for the entire procedure. The surgeon then makes an incision in the recipients abdomen and places the donated kidney inside. The new kidney is then connected to the recipients blood vessels and bladder. Once this is done, the surgeon closes the incision. The patients original kidneys are usually left in place unless there is a medical reason to remove them. The operation typically takes three to five hours.
Kidney transplantation is a fairly common surgical procedure, with over 20,000 performed in the United States every year. This type of surgery generally has a high success rate and a low rate of complications. Kidney transplants from living donors generally last two to three times as long as those from deceased donors. Furthermore, those facilitated by the National Kidney Registry have superior outcomes at three, five and seven years compared to average U.S. living donor transplant outcomes. Having the largest donor pool allows the NKR to find better matches for recipients.
How Do I Know If I Am A Good Match For The Person Receiving My Kidney
You will have blood and antibody tests to see if your kidney is a good match for the recipient. Your immune system finds anything that should not be inside your body and attacks it to keep you healthy. The immune system protects our bodies by fighting anything it senses can hurt us, such as bacteria from spoiled food or viruses like the flu. When your recipient gets your donated kidney, their immune system will notice right away that the new kidney is different from the rest of their body. Then, it will start to attack the new kidney as if it were a disease.
To lower the chances of this happening, your transplant team will start by making sure your blood type works with the recipient’s blood type. There are four blood types: O, A, B and AB. If your blood type is very similar to your recipient’s, there is a lower chance that their immune system will try to fight the new kidney.
If you are not a good match for your potential recipient, you can still help them get a living donor transplant through a paired kidney exchange.
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Being A Living Kidney Donor
If you have two healthy kidneys, you may be able to donate one of your kidneys to enhance or save someone else’s life. Both you and the recipient of your kidney can live with just one healthy kidney.
If you are interested in living kidney donation:
- Contact the transplant center where a transplant candidate is registered.
- You will need to have an evaluation at the transplant center to make sure that you are a good match for the person you want to donate to and that you are healthy enough to donate.
- If you are a match, healthy and willing to donate, you and the recipient can schedule the transplant at a time that works for both of you.
- If you are not a match for the intended recipient, but still want to donate your kidney so that the recipient you know can receive a kidney that is a match, paired kidney exchange may be an option for you.
Another way to donate a kidney while you are alive is to give a kidney to someone you do not necessarily know. This is called living non-directed donation. If you are interested in donating a kidney to someone you do not know, the transplant center might ask you to donate a kidney when you are a match for someone who is waiting for a kidney in your area, or as part of kidney paired donation. You will never be forced to donate.
Is There An Age Limit For Being A Living Kidney Donor
There is no official maximum age limit for becoming a living kidney donor. It is harder for an older donor to qualify for donation surgery but the National Kidney Registry has had donors who were in their late-70s when they donated. The minimum age for donation is 18-25 depending on the transplant center.
If you are considering donating a kidney in the future, but are concerned your age may be an issue, the National Kidney Registry Voucher Program lets potential donors donate a kidney now and give vouchers to up to five family members. If any of the voucher holders need a kidney in the future, they can activate their voucher to receive priority consideration for a well-matched kidney from a living donor through the NKR. Only one voucher can be redeemed per voucher donor.
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Psychosocial Socioeconomic And Emotional Risks
Considering living donation can be scary and challenging for the potential donor.
On one hand, the potential donor may be worried about their potential recipient or may feel guilty about the health problems that person is experiencing. On the other hand, the potential donor will likely feel stress and concern related to the possibility of donating their organ, which requires them to undergo surgery themselves.
The good news is that most potential donors have similar questions and concerns. Dedicated donor teams including transplant coordinators, physicians, social workers, and psychiatrists are well-versed in helping potential donors answer these questions for themselves and cope with any issues that arise.
Some concerns expressed by many potential donors include:
- Who will take care of me/my children after I donate?
- Am I responsible for uncovered expenses such as travel expenses, childcare, elder care, etc.?
- What do I do if I feel coerced into donating?
- Will my employer allow me to take the needed time off and/or will my job be stable while I am gone?
- How will I feel if my recipient does not do as well as expected after the transplant or if they do not comply with their post-transplant regimen?
- How will I feel if my recipient is not “grateful enough” for what I went through to donate my kidney?
- How will I feel if the transplanted organ fails?
Living kidney donors may be at risk for experiencing the following:
What Processes Do You Have To Go Through To Be A Living Kidney Donor
The decision to donate a kidney is just the first step on a journey that may eventually lead to a kidney transplant operation.
Everyone who wants to donate is asked to go through a number of tests and examinations. These checks are designed to ensure that you are healthy enough to give a kidney, that your kidneys are currently working well and that you are physically and emotionally prepared for the donation. Your safety and well-being is always the priority for the medical teams and you should be aware from the beginning that there may be a number of reasons why you might not be suitable to donate. The tests and checks can take several months , which include medical, surgical and psychological assessments.
In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, no minimum age limit is specified under the Human Tissue Act 2004, but most donors will be over the age of 18 years. In Scotland, the law specifies that the donor has to be over 16. There is no upper age limit, and there have been donors in their 70s and 80s.
Throughout the process, anonymity and confidentiality are necessary, and most altruistic donors never meet the person who receives their donated kidney. It is, however, possible for both parties to contact each other after the transplantation, but only if both parties are willing.
Tests and examinations before the operation
General physical health
Glucose tolerance test
Blood pressure monitoring
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Are There Any Long
Large studies have been performed on people who have given one kidney to someone else. There does not appear to be any significant risk of serious problems from having donated a kidney. There is a slight increased risk of raised blood pressure and protein in the urine after donation. Therefore there does not seem to be any serious long-term problems from donating a kidney, but we do monitor all donors in the long term to make sure they remain healthy.
How Long Do Kidney Transplants Last
There are a number of factors which affect how long a transplanted kidney lasts.
These include whether or not the kidney came from a living donor, how well the kidney is matched in terms of blood group and tissue type, and the age and overall health of the person receiving the donation.
If you have a kidney transplant that fails, you can usually be put on the waiting list for another transplant. You may need dialysis in the meantime.
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How Do I Find Out If Its Safe For Me To Donate A Kidney
Here at UT Southwestern, the first step in our potential donor screening process is a kidney donation application. This application allows a wider net of potential donors to participate, even if they live across the country from the recipient.
A relatively healthy person in his or her 30s to 50s likely will fly through the form. The application asks for basic health details, such as age, height, and weight. We also ask for personal medical history, particularly pertaining to diseases that could lead to kidney problems down the road, such as:
- Smoking or vaping
- Urinary problems
Individuals with a history of these diseases might be screened out immediately. If theres a high risk that a potential donor might develop kidney problems later in life, giving up a kidney today is not a healthy choice.
Obesity and smoking can be exceptions for some potential donors because these risk factors sometimes can be reversed. Smokers and vapers can quit with help from their doctor and might be able to reapply, depending on their overall health.
We actually see return applicants fairly often. It can be tough for someone to quit smoking or lose weight, but saving the life of another person is pretty great motivation!
Special Programs For Living Donor Kidney Transplantation
Many patients have family members or friends who wish to donate a kidney but are not able to because their blood type or tissue type doesn’t match the recipient. In such cases, the donor and recipient are said to be “incompatible.” UCSF offers several programs to help these patients receive a kidney.
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You Dont Have To Be Related To Someone To Donate A Kidney To Them
In fact, one in four living organ donors is not biologically related to the recipient . Spouses, in-laws, close friends, church members, and even members of the same community can all be living donors.
It’s true that family members have a higher chance of being a good match. But living donor transplants are more successful compared to kidneys from deceased donors because these kidneys come from living donors.
What Can I Expect During Kidney Donation Surgery
Surgeons typically remove a donated kidney using a minimally invasive laparoscopic procedure. Surgery to remove a kidney may take two to three hours. Your surgeon will:
- Make several small abdominal incisions.
- Insert a laparoscope into an incision.
- Use tiny instruments to remove the kidney through an incision.
- Close the incisions with dissolvable stitches.
Some cases are done open if there are anatomic issues, but this happens in less than 5% of the surgeries.
Often your kidney recipient will be in a nearby operating room in the same hospital. Another team of surgeons operates on the recipient.
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Legal Issues Related To Payment For Donation
The National Organ Transplantation Act of 1984 specifically prohibits the exchange of “valuable consideration” for a human organ .
Therefore, it is illegal to sell organs if this occurs, it is punishable by fines, imprisonment, or both.
However, the payment of “the expenses of travel, housing, and lost wages incurred by the donor of a human organ in connection with the donation of the organ” is expressly permitted by section 301 of NOTA.
Learn more about the National Organ Transplantation Act .
Kidney Donation Process Overview
Living donors are free to confidentially withdraw at any time during the donation evaluation process and are not obligated to donate.
To learn more about testing and living donation or learn more with our living donor education booklet and .
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Receiving A Kidney From A Living Donor
A living donor is someone who has agreed to donate their kidney to you while they are still alive. This is possible as nearly everyone has two kidneys, but can lead normal healthy lives with just one kidney. A living donor will need an operation to remove one of their kidneys so it can be transplanted into you.
On average, approximately 30 out of 100 kidney transplants are from living donors.
Live Donor Kidney Transplant Requirements
The specialists at Lahey Hospital & Medical Center can help you understand the requirements for live donor kidney transplantation.
To become a live donor, you must:
- Be over age 18
- Be willing to commit to the pre-donation evaluation process, surgery and the burden of recovery
- Be in good health and psychological condition
- Have a compatible blood type
- Have normal kidney function
In certain situations, you must meet additional requirements to become a live donor. You may have to do this if you:
- Are an incompatible cross-match
- Have a body mass index greater than 30
- Have high blood pressure
- Have a history of kidney stones
- Have an incompatible blood type
You cannot be a live donor if you:
- Are under age 18
- Have heart disease, diabetes or cancer
- Have chronic kidney problems
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How Can I Donate
If you want to give your kidney to a friend or family member, talk to the doctor at the transplant center. You’ll start taking tests to see if you’re a match.
If you want to give a kidney to someone you don’t know, contact your nearest transplant center. You can find out if they have a nondirected donor program. If they don’t, ask your doctor for a list of centers that have an anonymous donor program. You can also find those programs online.
National Kidney Foundation: “How Your Kidneys Work,” “The Evaluation,” âHelpful Tips for Living Donors and Caretakers,â “What to Expect After Donation,” âGeneral Information on Living Donation.â
Johns Hopkins Medicine: “What Kidney Donors Need to Know Before, During and After Donating a Kidney.”
UCSF Medical Center: âFAQ: Living Kidney Donor.â
American Transplant Foundation: “Becoming a Living Donor,” “What to Consider Before Donating.”
National Kidney Registry: “Living Donors.”
UNOS: “Living Donation: Information You Need to Know.â
A Kidney For $10000 Paying Donors Actually Pays Off New Study Finds
Paying living kidney donors $10,000 to give up their organs would save money over the current system based solely on altruism even if it only boosts donations by a conservative 5 percent.
Thats according to a new analysis by Canadian researchers that rekindles the ongoing debate about whether its practical and ethical to offer financial incentives for human body parts.
We have a problem. We dont have enough organ donors coming forward, said Dr. Braden Manns, an associate professor and clinical professor in nephrology at the University of Calgary. He led the new study published Thursday in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.
We need to figure out a way to solve that problem. We shouldnt throw out, out of hand, solutions that could increase donations.
But other kidney experts say that even if its cost-effective to pay people for organs, the moral issues the practice generates might backfire.
Sometimes these things have unintended consequences, said Dr. Stephen Pastan, a board member for the National Kidney Foundation and a transplant surgeon at Emory University in Atlanta. If we paid $10,000, a lot of altruistic donors would say that its just a cash transaction. Donations could go down.
Right now the question is theoretical. In the U.S., Canada and other countries except Iran paying people to donate organs is illegal.
The obvious question, the elephant in the room is, Why dont more people donate? Manns said.
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Blood Type Incompatible Kidney Transplant
This program allows patients to receive a kidney from a living donor with an incompatible blood type. To be able to receive such a kidney, patients must undergo several rounds of plasmapheresis, which is similar to dialysis, before and after the transplant. Plasmapharesis removes antibodies from the patient’s blood that can lead to rejection of the transplanted kidney.
Patients require multiple treatments with plasmapheresis before transplant, and may need several more after transplant to keep their antibody levels down.
Some patients also need to have their spleens removed at the time of transplant surgery to lower the number of cells that produce antibodies. The spleen, a spongy organ about the size of a person’s fist, produces blood cells. Located in the upper left part of the abdomen under the rib cage, the spleen can be removed using laparascopic surgery.