Things to Know About
Becoming a Kidney Donor
Who can donate a kidney?
To be a living kidney donor, you must:
a. Be age 18 or older.
b. Have two healthy, working kidneys.
c. Be healthy enough to donate.
Steps to become a kidney donor:
1. An Initial Interview is conducted with an establishment
2. An assessment of your overall health status is performed. You’ll undergo an extensive evaluation which includes a physical and mental health evaluation, several blood tests and imaging procedures.
3. Once the complete medical, social, and psychosocial clearance is complete, the donor will meet with the surgeon.
4. If the surgical procedure has been determined, the surgery date for the donor and recipient can be scheduled, at their convenience.
Benefits of donating a kidney:
1. Help the recipient (the person who gets your kidney) live a longer, healthier life.
2. Save the life of another person.
3. Better understand your own health and health problems through the in-depth evaluation.
Possible risks of donating a kidney:
1. When donating a kidney, there are possible physical, emotional and financial risks. The donor evaluation team (see below) assigned to you will review the possible risks with you.
2. They will not let you donate if you are at high risk!
Donor Evaluation Team:
The donor evaluation team usually includes these team members:
a. Social workers who review your social support system and finances and help you with any challenges, such as emotions, physical side effects or finances.
b. Dietitians who review your eating habits and activity level and can help create a plan to make healthy choices before and after donation surgery.
c. Transplant surgeons who do the donation surgery
d. Doctors who have special training in a certain area of medicine such as the heart, kidney or liver. They help make sure you are healthy enough for surgery.
e. Living donor coordinators who help organize your evaluation, prepare you for surgery and help coordinate follow-up care after surgery.
f. A living donor advocate who will make sure your rights are protected and that your choice to donate is voluntary.