Living Donation Q&A
What does living donation involve?
To be qualified as a living donor, you should be in good physical health and over the age of 18. Qualifications vary by organ donation, but eligible kidney donors cannot have high blood pressure, diabetes, HIV, acute infections, a history of cancer or in-treatment psychiatric conditions.
Donors undergo extensive health and medical testing to eliminate any potential health risk and confirm their blood, tissue and organ compatibility with a recipient.
For the approved donor, the surgery is minimally invasive and laparoscopic. Recovery time can take between one and two weeks, followed by restricted physical activity for six to eight weeks post surgery.
Our bodies have built in natural redundancies, and kidneys are one of those organs with extra capacity. In most cases,, a donor's remaining kidney adapts to its new condition and increases production almost immediately.
The National Kidney foundation has created an awesome Q&A about the top five questions regarding living donation:
1. How can I be a living kidney donor to someone I know?
2. What tests are used to determine if someone can be a kidney donor?
3. What’s involved in the surgery and what’s the recovery period?
4. What are the long-term risks of kidney donation?
5. Who pays for living donation?
Why is living donation important?
Living donation offers an alternative for individuals awaiting transplants from a deceased donor and increases the existing organ supply, saving more lives.
A living donor is an option for patients who otherwise may face a lengthy wait for an organ from a deceased donor.
Living donation can spare an individual dialysis treatment. Furthermore, transplanted kidneys from a living donor lasts twice as long as from a deceased donor.
Is dialysis a valid option?
Currently, 486,000 Americans are on dialysis. There are two dialysis options: hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis. Hemodialysis uses a machine to filter your blood while peritoneal uses an individual's peritoneum (the membrane lining the cavity of the abdomen and covering the abdominal organs) and a dialysate cleaning solution to filter your blood.
Dialysis performs only about 10 % of normal kidney function.
Although dialysis is truly a life-saving therapy, people cannot stay on it forever. Because of its debilitating effect on the body, dialysis can cause other health problems, including:
- Bone disease
- High Blood Pressure
- Heart Disease
- Nerve Damage
In most cases, dialysis impairs patients’ ability to live full and active lives.
Dialysis isn’t the ideal solution to end stage renal disease; it is simply a band aid solution.
Patients who get a kidney transplant live an average of 10 to 15 years longer than if they stayed on dialysis.
In 2016, 6,000 transplants in the United States were made possible by living donors
Today there are 118,000 people in the US in need of organ donation and 82% of them need a kidney.
The average life expectancy of a patient on dialysis is ONLY 5 YEARS!
Each year 4,500 people die while waiting for a kidney transplant.