Q: Does a living kidney donor have to be related?
No, the living donor does not have to be related to the intended recipient. Only 50% of living donor surgeries that take place involve a related donor. A kidney transplant between a non-related donor and recipient can be just as successful as related donor and recipient.
Q: How long does the living donor evaluation take?
The evaluation starts by the donor completing basic blood work and urine tests at their convenience. Once this is completed, our clinic evaluation typically takes only one day. If additional testing is required, this may prolong the evaluation process.
Q: Will I be the only one contacted with my results?
Yes, everything regarding the living donor evaluation, including the compatibility results, is considered confidential and will only be shared with the donor.
Q: Are there any health risks to donating one of my kidneys?
The health risks associated with donating a kidney are very low. Consider these facts:
- On average, people who donate a kidney live just as long as people with two kidneys.
- Most donors fully recover from surgery in just a few weeks.
- If you are in good health before surgery, removal of a kidney should not affect your health. In one study, 93% of donors did not think giving up a kidney had changed their health.
- Kidney donors do not have an increased risk of developing kidney disease, high blood pressure, or other health problems later in life as compared to non-donors.
Q: Can my donor live out-of-state?
Yes, donors can live out-of-state. Although initial testing can be completed at a lab convenient to the donor, he/she will be responsible for coming to Dallas for evaluation, pre-op clearance, and the surgery itself. There are assistance programs that may help donors with travel expenses, etc.
Q: Who pays for the living donor evaluations/surgery?
The recipient’s insurance will pay for the living donor’s surgery.
Q: How long will it take for the transplant to be scheduled at Medical City Dallas?
Once both the donor and recipient are approved for transplant, which varies for each individual, the surgery date is based on the request of the donor/recipient and the availability of our surgeons.
Q: How long will I be in the hospital after donation?
Living donors typically stay in the hospital 1-2 days, depending on their recovery.
Q: After the surgery, how long will it be until I can return to work?
Living donors typically return to work in 2-4 weeks, depending on the type of work. If a living donor’s job entails heavy lifting or other strenuous activity, it may be six weeks or longer before a donor can return to work.
Q: Will young female donors be able to have children in the future?
Yes, females of child-bearing age can have children following kidney donation, but must notify their physicians of the history of kidney donation. Your obstetrician will follow living donors closely through the pregnancy and ensure blood pressure is appropriate.
We do advise women to wait six months to a year after donating an organ before becoming pregnant.
Q: How will kidney donation affect me? Will it increase my risk of future health problems?
We do not allow people to donate their kidneys if we think their future health will be at risk, even if the recipient is someone they really love. People only need one healthy kidney to survive. After donating a kidney, the remaining kidney will grow and maintain daily function of two kidneys. Your life expectancy does not change and kidney donation does not increase the chance of getting kidney disease.
Q: What about follow-up after donation?
We keep a close eye on donors for at least two years after donation. We encourage donors to see their primary care doctor yearly to ensure they stay healthy.