Living Kidney Donation: All You Need to Know

living kidney donation

When it comes to kidney donation, most people think of checking a box on our driver’s license in case of an accident but remember that you don’t have to be deceased to donate a kidney.

You can be a living kidney donor, and it is actually more common and safe than people think. Living kidney donations can save thousands of lives every year.

Check below to know more about living kidney donors.

What is living kidney donation?

A living kidney donor is a person who gives one of their healthy kidneys to an individual who needs kidney transplantation surgery. The recipient could be their friend or family member or someone they don’t even already know.

The kidney donated by the living donor serves the best long-term outcome for the recipient. At ten years, the average patient survival is 90% with a living donor transplant compared to 75% after a deceased donor transplant.

Coming forward for kidney donation is a wonderful thing to do, but it is also an important decision, and there are many things for you to consider.

Who can be a living kidney donor?

People who donate kidneys should be in good physical and mental health. The most general rule to be a living kidney donor is that you should be 18 years or older and have normal kidney function.

Some medical conditions will prevent you from being a living donor, like uncontrolled high blood pressure, HIV, cancer, diabetes, hepatitis, or acute infections. People with serious mental health conditions that require treatment cannot be living kidney donors.

Almost every recipient will get benefitted from kidney transplantation. In many cases, close relatives like family members, partners, or friends will be living kidney donors.

But even people who don’t know anyone with kidney disease who wishes to donate can also provide a kidney for someone on the national transplant list.

Not every donor kidney will match the recipient because, in some cases, a donor and a recipient pair may not match each other because of blood group or HLA type. But the recipient can be paired with another donor and recipient in the same situation who ‘swap’ donors.

Can you be a volunteer living kidney donor?

Being a living kidney donor is something you choose to do and feel comfortable doing. Any healthy individual who wishes to help people with kidney disease can volunteer to give a kidney.

Individuals who wish to be volunteer living kidney donors will be asked to undertake a series of tests that help find the donor that is perfect for donating a kidney. Donors will be asked to take some tests like blood tests, urine tests, imaging exams, cancer screenings and other required tests.

The transplant team will perform these tests to ensure the donors stay healthy after your donation. Health and safety are major things and remember that even if you desire to be a contributor, not every individual is suitable, and you may be unable to donate.

Also, understand that even if you do volunteer, you can change your mind at any point in the process, right up to the time of surgery.

Can smokers be living donors?

Smoking is not good for any individual, and most importantly, it is considered a risk to the potential donor. Smoking can damage the lungs and put the donor at a higher risk of developing pneumonia after surgery.

Volunteer living kidney donors should be honest with the transplant center about their smoking and other habits, ensuring that the donation and transplant are successful.

Policies regarding smoking and living donation might differ from transplant centers, and the donors might be asked to quit smoking before the donation. If the person is a heavy smoker, they might be asked to see a pulmonary doctor to check to breathe and to undertake other procedures.

What are the chances of a successful transplant?

Most kidney transplantation will be successful, but there is no guarantee that a transplant will be successful. Even after living kidney transplantation, many people successfully work well a year after the operation.

Sadly, a tiny number of people have very serious complications, and the kidney has to be removed. If you are looking to become a living kidney donor, you need to consider how you might feel if the transplant is unsuccessful.

Read More: 7 Health Benefits of Exercise That You Shouldn’t Pass On!

Facts about being a living kidney donor

  • Donating a kidney will not make a healthy individual sick or have major health problems.

  • The donor’s blood and tissues type should be compatible with your recipient’s.

  • The donor’s hospital stay will be short, and you can get back to work fairly quickly.

  • Donors can still have a baby. Donating a kidney will not make it harder for the donors to get pregnant or deliver a baby.

  • For kidney donation, you don’t have to be related to someone to donate a kidney to them.

Summing it up

Nowadays, kidney transplant in India is as common as any other organ transplant surgery, and you can find many people nowadays agree to donate their living.

If you want to become a living kidney donor to save the lives of your loved ones or even for money, you can donate your kidney without any worries.


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