What Makes a Good Potential Living Donor?
If you are thinking about becoming a living organ donor, consider these important questions. These are general guidelines, but if you are interested in donation then a more thorough evaluation of your health status and history will be done.
- What makes a good potential living donor?
- What is involved in donation?
- Who pays for all of this testing?
- What is the Transplant Center's role?
What makes a good potential living donor?
- A commitment to taking care of your health after donation. It 's strongly recommended that you are seen every year by your doctor after donation
- A willingness to voluntarily donate a kidney
- Free from diabetes and cancer
- Normal blood pressure or no more than one or less medications to control blood pressure
- Not significantly overweight with a body mass index (BMI) of 35 or less (less than 25 is fit)
- Over the age of 18
What is involved in donation?
Testing to see if you are a match will first need to be done. This will involve blood testing. Once that is completed, we will need to determine that you are physically healthy enough to donate. This will typically include:
- A chest X-ray
- An appointment with the donor advocate
- An appointment with the donor surgeon
- An appointment with the nephrologist (kidney specialist)
- An appointment with the social worker
- An EKG or electrocardiogram of your heart
- An MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) of your kidneys - similar to an X-ray
- Blood and urine testing
- If you are female and over 20 years of age, you will need a Pap smear; if you are over 40 years of age, you will need a mammogram (if you have had these done within the last year, please let us know as you will not have to repeat them)
Additional testing may be requested by the nephrologist or surgeon. If you have abnormal test results you may be referred back to your own doctor for a thorough evaluation.
Who pays for all of this testing?
The donor should not incur any direct costs for donation. The testing, the preoperative appointments, the hospitalization, the surgery and one to two postoperative visits will be paid either by Medicare or the recipient's insurance. Insurance coverage varies greatly.
The costs a donor may incur are:
- Expenses related to another health concern that may be identified during the evaluation process will not be covered by the recipient's insurance or Medicare
- There is some financial assistance offered for housing and travel expenses if the donor meets the qualifications; please discuss this with the transplant coordinator to see if you may qualify
- Those associated with lost wages due to time off from work for testing and surgical recovery (approximately three to four weeks after donation)
- Travel and housing expenses if the donor does not live in the area
What is the Transplant Center's role?
We are responsible for ensuring that you are well-informed about your decision to donate. We need to be sure you are aware of all of the potential risks and benefits of donation. Education is also a very important part of this process. We want you to know your health and well being is as much of a concern for us as the recipient's health and well being.
The following is a list of some of the information that will be reviewed with you.
- The fact that we will be in contact with you over the two years after your donation to collect data that we are required to provide to the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS).
- The potential recipient's medical options other than transplant.
- There are some potential medical, financial and psychosocial risks associated with donation. These will be discussed with you on an individual basis in your appointments at the transplant center.
- The type of surgery that will be performed, how long you will be in the hospital and what the typical follow-up after surgery will be.
- This is a process. There will be many tests done to ensure that you are safe to donate. A surgery will not be planned until the majority of the testing is completed.
- You may at any time in the process decide not to donate.
- You understand that this is a completely confidential process. We cannot discuss your results with anyone else unless you give us permission to do so.
If you are interested in becoming a living donor, fill-out and submit our living kidney donor intake form.