Where will my new kidney come from?
Transplanted kidneys come from another human being. Your new kidney will come from either a deceased donor or a living donor.
What is a deceased donor?
A deased donor is a person who recently died of causes unrelated to kidney disease. The donor's cause of death will not affect the functioning of the transplanted kidney. At some point the donor had made it known he/she wanted to give his/her organs so others could live. The donor's family has voluntarily offered the kidney for transplantation.
What is a living donor?
A living donor can be a friend, spouse, or a blood relative of the recipient. Potential living donors receive a thorough medical evaluation to determine if they are acceptable candidates for donation.
Are there risks to being a kidney donor?
Kidney donation is a relatively safe operation with rapid recovery. People who have donated their kidneys report it as being rewarding and meaningful. Most donors find they can return to work within four to six weeks, depending upon how strenuous their job is. Kidney donation does not increase the risk of developing kidney failure in the future, and it does not change the donor's life expectancy or place the donor at any risk for future health problems. Kidney donors can lead normal, healthy lives that include exercise, participation in sports, and work in all types of occupations. Research has shown that kidney donation has no effect on the ability to have children. The transplant team will discuss the risks of donation with the donor in a confidential manner.
Is one type of donor better than the other?
Having a living donor offers several advantages over having a deceased donor:
- The waiting period between acceptance for transplantation and the surgery is dramatically reduced.
- The surgery can be scheduled at a time convenient to both the recipient and the donor.
- A kidney from a living donor usually starts making urine immediately after it is surgically connected.
- Most living donor kidneys tend to function for a much longer period of time than those from a deceased donor.
In addition, each living donor helps keep the waiting list from getting longer. Thus, each living donor probably saves more than just one life.