- Great Articles -
"Kidney Donors Have A Normal
Life Span, Study Finds"
Click here for this article
"One Kidney Is More Than Enough- Living Kidney Donors, Survive, Thriveand Rarely Suffer from Kidney Problems"
Click here for this article
"What Prospecitve Donors
Need To Know"
Click here for this article
"We are born with approximately 4-5 times the kidney function that we need, to be healthy and stay off of dialyisis- to not have kidney failure. So by donating one of your kidneys, you are still left with with 2-3 times the amount of kidney function that you need to be healthy and lead a normal life" - Dr. Joseph Del Pizzo. Vice Chairman. Department of Urology, Associate Professor of Urology and Transplantation Surgery, NY Presbytarian Hospital - Weill Corneil Medical Center, New York, NY. Source of quote: Video produced by Dramatic Health
“It is easy, it is simple. There is no reason in the world, if you are a healthy person, to not consider donating your kidney. Your life will not change one bit but somebody else’s life will change 200%! - It would probably be the best decision that they have ever made in their life" - Vicki O’Neill Haber, Denver, Colorado (Vicki, kidney donor left, pictured with her kidney recipient.)
Great video information on kidney donation, by a prominent Kidney Donor surgeon. Video:
"About Kidney Donation"
Click here to view.
Lost Wages & Travel Expenses can be legally paid for!
You can contact the National Living Donor Assistance Center - LivingDonorAssistance.org or your local transplant hospital, or the "Contact Us" link on this website for more info.
For a listing of some of the people who Donated a Kidney - see the "home page" of this website.
If you would like to Donate a Kidney
(or part of your liver)
happy to assist you or match you up!
Contact: Chaya Lipschutz,
the Kidney/Liver Matchmaker:
E-mail: KidneyMatchmaker@aol.com or
phone (917) 627-8336
Or you can fill out the form on the bottom of t
GREAT INTERVIEWS with KIDNEY DONORS!
Must see video, "Give A Kidney - One's Enough" Click on the above video to watch, or click here.
Kidney Donors picture
Left to right: David Koster -donated a kidney to a stranger. Mordechai Husarsky donated a kidney to his father-in-law. Chaya Lipschutz - donated a kidney to a stranger. all of us from New York, with Nancy Barker pf New Jersey, right, who donated a kidney to a co-worker, Photo taken at an Organ Donation Seminar in New Jersey - July 2006
83 Year old man
Donates A Kidney!
See his great interview above or click here. (Note: Only less than 1% of the population at that age are eligible. Also, most hospitals would not accept someone so old to donate.)
DOUBLE ORGAN DONOR!
Rabbi Ephraim Simon, a father of 9 from NJ, donated BOTH his kidney & part of his liver! Chaya made both his organ matches. To read his story, click here
Interview with Kidney Donors
and Kidney Transplant Surgeon
on former New York
Assemblyman Dov Hikind's
Weekly Radio Show - WMCA, NY
Interviewed on this program were
kidney donors, Chaya Lipschutz, Mordy Husarsky, and kidney transplant surgeon Dr. Stuart Greenstein
Nephrologist Donates Kidney
Dr. Rita McGill, on the left. To read this story, click here.
Kidney Donor presentation:
"What Makes A Person Decide To Donate a Kidney to a Stranger? (To view, click on the above video or click here.
Rabbi, a Father of 5, from New York, Donates Kidney & Writes a Book on Kidney Donation! For Rabbi Ari Sytner's story, click here Rabbi Sytner's great book "Kidney Donor's Journey" is available on Amazon.
Video on Kidney Donation by prominent surgeon - Dr. Lloyd Ratner NY Presbytarian
Kidney Donors: Left to right: Michael Jerry, with David Koster. David & Chaya inspired Jerry to donate a kidney as well! (All from New York)
Donated a Kidney as a result of this Website! Moish Siegel, on the right, of Israel
Kidney Donors: Left to right: Tom O'Driscoll of Houston, with his kidney recipient & kidney donor & matchmaker, Chaya Lipschutz, who inspired him to donate a kidney.
Mother of 9 Donates a Kidney! Nahva Follman, of Israel, inspired by Chaya & she made her match.
DOUBLE organ donor! Joe Gilvary, of VT, donated both a kidney & Liver!
Woman Donates a Kidney to Husband's Ex-Wife! Donor on the left. For the story, click here.
Nurse a Mother of 3, Donates a Kidney! Kerry Greene of Georgia, inspired to donate a kidney as a result of Chaya - who made her match.
Kidney Donor Runs Marathon, Weeks after Donating a Kidney! Mike Koetting of Minnesota was inspired to donate a kidney by Chaya
Super-Hero Donates A Kidney! John Feal of NY, 9/11 First Responder, donated a kidney despite having a lot of surgeries prior to his kidney donation!
Double Organ Kidney/Liver Donor - Rabbi Ephraim Simon, father of 9 of NJ, with his family.
Kidney Donor interview: Rabbi Ephraim Simon - double organ donor, father of 9 . His radlo interview on the Zev Brenner radio program - WMCA, NY - after his kidney donation.
Woman, 38 Years After Donating A Kidney to Her Son!
2 SISTERS Donated their kidney to strangers within 24 hours!
QUOTES FROM KIDNEY DONORS:
"Donating a kidney was the easiest thing that I ever had to do! People always ask me why I donated my kidney - and I always respond with, why wouldn’t I donate a kidney? I had 41 surgeries in my life and the kidney donation was the easiest surgery of them all" - John Feal, 9/11 responder,
"Donating a kidney to someone I never met was the greatest experience of my life. To give for the pure sake of giving brings the deepest joy imaginable. I am profoundly grateful for the opportunity that changed my life in every way" - Lori Palatnik, Chaya Lipschutz, kidney donor & matchmaker, who runs this website, had made her kidney match.
"It was the best thing I ever did with my life," she said. "I wish I had more; I would do it again." - April Capone, former Mayor of East Haven, CT
"There is no greater feeling than knowing you brought life to another human being. It has truly been an amazing experience that ranks right up there with the birth of my 9 children. If I could, I would do it again tomorrow." - Rabbi Ephraim Simon, who donated both kidney & part of his liver. Chaya had made his kidney & liver match.
"I think this is the right thing to do. I don’t think anyone should fear it . They wouldn’t allow you to do this if you weren’t healthy enough’ - Larry Seidman
"As a result of my kidney donation, I feel richer than Donald Trump and Bill Gates combined!" - David Koster
"Giving a kidney has been no big deal....I've had dental treatment that has been worse!" - Paul Dixon,
QUOTES from KIDNEY TRANSPLANT professionals:
"Kidney donation is a relatively easy operation, and many donors will never feel the loss of their second kidney. It's the most expendable of organs, So giving up a kidney causes no disadvantage to your long-term health. In fact, studies have shown, that kidney donors actually live longer than the general population -because donors come from a pool of people in good health" - Dr. Michael Edye, Adjunct associate professor of surgery, Mount Sinai hospital, New York, NY.
"Just think people have no problem having only one kidney, so we have to ask, why did G-d give us two kidneys? Perhaps it is so you would have an extra one to donate and save a life!" - Dr. Stuart Greenstein, Kidney Transplant Surgeon, Professor of Surgery, Montefiore Medical Center, Bronx, NY
"We are born with approximately 4-5 times the kidney function that we need, to be healthy and stay off of dialysis - to not have kidney failure So by donating one of your kidneys, you are still left with with 2-3 times the amount of kidney function that you need to be healthy and lead a normal life " - Dr. Joseph Del Pizzo. Assistant Professor of Urology, Director, Laproscopic Surgery, NY-Presbytarian Hospital - Weill Corneil Medical Center, New York, NY
"There's a lot of misconceptions about kidney donation and a lot of fear. But if people take the time to get the facts, they find out the risks are very minimal. People are born with two kidneys. You only need one." - Michelle Winsor, Kidney Transplant Coordinator, Sharp Memorial Hospital, San Diego, CA
"Very Safe Operation" - Dr. Jay Levine, General Surgeon, St. Mary's Health Care, West Michigan, MI
INFO on Kidney Donation: (Click on each title to view.)
1. "Understanding Living Donation"- UNOS
2. "The Gift of Life - Living Donor Kidney Transplant" - Boston MedicalCenter
3. "Kidney Donation: Are There Long Term Risks? - Mayo Clinic
Stories About Kidney Donors: (Click on each title to view.)
4,. "Brother and Sister Donate Kidneys To Save Lives"
Miscellaneous Articles: (Click on each title to view.)
“Kidney donation is a relatively SAFE OPERATION, and many donors will never feel the loss of their second kidney. So giving up a kidney causes no disadvantage to your long-term health. In fact, studies have shown, that KIDNEY DONORS actually LIVE LONGER than the general population - because donors come from a pool of people in good health" - Dr. Michael Edye, former Adjunct Associate Professor of surgery, Mt. Sinai Medical Center, New York City Quote from his interview, click here.
“Kidney donation is safe, a quick recovery, completely free to the donor, and incredibly rewarding. In less than two weeks I was back at work and feeling great. You can live with one kidney the rest of your life, while saving a life. I donated to a stranger, but to me it was no-brainer. I only wish I can do it again! I got more out of donating a kidney than my kidney recipient did! I gave a kidney, but gained a lifelong friend.” - Mark Rankin, St. Pete, FL
For more quotes by doctors on the Safety of Kidney Donation & Quotes by Kidney Donors on their great kidney donation experience, click here. Some of the quotes are toward the bottom left side of this page.
For great stories about people who have donated a kidney, see the bottom left side of this page.
To those considering kidney donation, you have come to the right page!
Note: If you would like to be matched up with someone in need of a kidney, please use form on bottom of this page. Thanks!
Why living kidney donation?
Over 26 million people in America suffer from chronic kidney disease (CKD)
Over 90,000 people are on a list waiting for a life-saving kidney
An average of 6,000 people die each year waiting for a kidney.
Due to the lack of kidneys, the average wait for a cadaver kidney is between five and 8 years. 80% of those who are on dialysis don't survive more than 10 years on dialysis. And many others develop other health problems while on dialysis and become ineligible for a kidney transplant, years after being on dialysis.
A kidney from a living donor can last many years longer than a kidney from a deceased person.
GREAT BOOK OUT ON KIDNEY DONATION - all your questions answered!
Book written by a kidney donor!
Check out the highly acclaimed book, "The Kidney Donor's Journey: 100 Questions I Asked Before Donating My Kidney." Available in paperback on Amazon and FREE for those who have Kindle unlimited.
Thanks for clicking on the "Donate-A-Kidney" section. Hope you will consider becoming a kidney donor!
There is a great shortage of kidneys. People are dying every day because they are not able to find anyone to donate a kidney to them. And there is a long waiting list for a kidney from a cadaver. Your considering donating a kidney is greatly appreciated.
I am in touch with many people who have already donated a kidney. All are doing great, some of us wish we can do it again, including myself! I can put you in touch with some of the others who are happy to share their great kidney donation experience. Quotes from some kidney donors are on the left side of the page. Also, you can click here for quotes on other kidney donors & from medical professionals in the kidney transplant field.
Most of the kidney donation surgery is done laproscopically, the less invasive way. Hospital stay is usually about 2 days for that procedure.
When I came home from the hospital, it was business as usual, I did everything as I did before. People are generally not bed ridden. I myself didn't do any resting. Everyone recuperates differently. Most people do take off at least 10 days from work. There is an organization called the National Living Donor Assistance Center that can possibly compensate for lost wages. One thing to note: One cannot be paid for organ donation. This is not legal. One has to donate a kidney altruistically - with no ulterior motives.
Once a person donates a kidney, there is no special diet that one has to be on. No medications to take. Life is exactly the same with one kidney as with two.
If you are seriously considering donating a kidney - be aware, there will always be people who will to try to talk you out of it. You will find if you talk to others about your considering donating a kidney - people may tell you that you are "crazy" for wanting to donate a kidney. Most of us who have donated a kidney have gone through this. Most of the public is not educated about kidney donation. People don't realize one can live just as well with one kidney as with two. Before my brother donated a kidney, he got negative feedback from someone he knows who thought my brother was crazy for wanting to donate 0a kidney. This person admitted that he didn't now about kidney donation. My brother started to have some doubts. But I told my brother, don't listen to people who don't know anything about kidney donation. Only speak to people who have done it or professionals in the field. So, in the end, my brother ended up donating a kidney and was so happy he did! How well did he do? That same day that he donated a kidney - he had almost no pain and was walking around the hospital like nothing happened! One of my nephews has since donated a kidney as well!
Kidney donation is considered a lower risk surgery. Before donating a kidney though, people are tested to make sure they are 100% healthy enough to donate a kidney. One is given many medical tests, to make sure of this. There are tests that are given to the potential kidney donor. that they may not otherwise take in their lifetime. There are people who thought they were healthy enough to donate a kidney - but through this extensive medical testing - have found out they had health issues that they didn't know about and would have possibly otherwise not discovered. So, some of these people who were turned down for kidney donation, their own life has been saved through the process of wanting to save another person's life!
Donor's expenses, including Lost Wages may be paid for! Please read below for more details:
For those who are working, the organization, National Living Donors Assistance Center, may pay for your lost wages! This great non-profit organization, which has been around for many years, only recently has decided to reimburse potential organ donors for lost wages as well - in addition to their reimbursing the employed or unemployed - for travel expenses, food & lodging for organ donors. For more information, you can contact the National Living Donors Assistance Center - LivingDonorAssistanceCenter.org. - or you may contact the living donor coordinator at any hospital that has a transplant division. Note: Sometimes this organization will not assist donors financially if the person they are donating to is in a higher income bracket. I have found though that most people who are in need of a transplant have had donors who were able to get financial assistance from this organization. Click here for more info from the National Living Donor Assistance Center or check out their website at LivingDonorAssistance.org.
I am always happy to answer any other questions or concerns you may have! Please feel free to contact me. Please click on the "Contact Us" page or e-mail me at KidneyMitzvah@aol.com. I can also put you in contact with kidney transplant centers in your area to answer your questions and concerns as well. Or, you can feel free to contact them as well on your own.
Thank you for your time in visiting my website!
Sincerest best wishes,
Kidney Donor and Kidney & Liver Matchmaker
P.S. To View My You Tube video on kidney donation - click here.
If you are considering donating a kidney
Are you in good health? No cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, recent kidney stones and have a BMI (Body Mass Index) under 35? Please note: Someone with a BMI of 30 and over is considered obese, and some hospitals may reject someone with a BMI over 30. Need to check with the individual hospital & their policy on this issue. NOTE: Some hospitals will allow someone to donate a kidney if they have high blood pressure - as long as they are over the age of 50 & only on 1 blood pressure medication.
Are you between the ages of 18 and 79? (Note some hospitals may not take a donor under 21 years old or a may not take a donor over 70. (Most people who are older get ruled out.)
If you would like to be matched up with someone in need of a kidney, that is one of my specialties. I have a list of many people who are in desperate need of a kidney. I have made many kidney & some liver matches.obligation. If you would like to be matched up with someone in need of a kidney, please click on the the "Contact Us" tab or e-mail me at KidneyMitzvah@aol.com
For a "Guide To Living Kidney Donation" from a one of the hospitals, click here
IMPORTANT INFORMATION ON KIDNEY DONATION:
The safety of the donor is of utmost importance. The donor will be evaluated by the kidney transplant team of a hospital There are no problems associated with having only one healthy kidney. There are no special precautions needed for child bearing, and special diets are not required for those with a single healthy kidney.
All medical costs are covered by recipients insurance, except routine tests - such as a pap smear for women, over the age of 40, a mammogram & over 50 colonoscopy. For men, they have to do a colonoscopy
There is an organization called, the National Living Donor Assistance Center, that can pay for lost wages, transportation (air & ground), place to stay & food, More information, click her.
If you are a Federal employee, you may be allowed up to 30 days off from your job, with pay for organ donation. For more information, click here. Also, depending on the state you live in, one may be able to deduct from their taxes up to $10,000 for lost wages or travel expenses due to organ donation.
* * * *
Do you know???
One in about 750 people are born with only one kidney! So someone who is not educated about kidney donation may say to someone who wants to donate a kidney that they crazy for wanting to donate a kidney. That person may falsely tell you that you need that other kidney, when they themselves may be walking around with just one kidney and not know it!
Most people on dialysis have 2 kidneys - when one kidney goes, the other goes at the same time. In other words, kidneydisease affects both kidneys at the same time.
Once you donate a kidney, your remaining kidney enlarges to make up for the loss of your remaining kidney. I donated a kidney in September 2005. My kidney donation, 16 years after I donated a kidney, my kidney function is almost the same as it was before I donated a kidney!
Don't know your blood type?
Before you can test for anyone who needs a kidney, you would need to find out what your blood type is. One of the things you can do to find out what your blood type is, is go to donate blood and tell them to let you know what your blood type is - or, you can go to your doctor to have a special blood test taken to find out what your blood type is
* * * *
General Information on Living Donation
(Please note: Below is information provided by a particular hospital in New York. Other hospitals may have different criteria regarding kidney donation.)
What is living donation?
Living donation takes place when a living person donates an organ (or part of an organ) for transplantation to another person. The living donor can be a family member, such as a parent, child, brother or sister (living related donation). Living donation can also come from someone who is emotionally related to the recipient, such as a good friend, spouse or an in-law (living unrelated
donation). In some cases, living donation may even be from a stranger, which is called non-directed donation.
How can I live with one kidney?
People usually have two kidneys, but one is all that is needed to live a normal life and have a normal life span. One in every 750 people is born with one kidney and don’t even know it…..Why?….Because they are living completely normal lives.
What are the advantages of living donation over non-living donation?
Transplants performed from living donors have several advantages compared to transplants performed from non-living donors (individuals who have been declared brain dead and their families have made the decision to donate their organs). Some living donor transplants are done between family members who are genetically similar. A better genetic match lessens the risk of rejection.
A kidney from a living donor usually functions immediately, making it easier to monitor. Some living donor kidneys do not function immediately, and as a result, the patient may require dialysis until the kidney starts to function. (usually two or three treatments) Are transplants from living donors always successful? (95% of living donor kidneys are still working at one year) Although transplantation
is highly successful, and success rates continue to improve, problems may occur. Sometimes, the kidney is lost to rejection, surgical complications or the original disease that caused the recipient’s kidney to fail.
How can I be a living kidney donor?
To donate a kidney, you must be in good health and have normal kidney function and anatomy. The prospective donor and recipient must have compatible blood types. If the donor meets the criteria for donation, additional testing will be required to check for further compatibility (cross matching and tissue typing) as well as physical examinations and psychological evaluation. More information on
testing and surgery procedures can be found below. The donor should make the decision voluntarily and free from internal or family pressure. Federal law bans the sale of organs. The decision to donate needs to be made with all the information necessary to make an informed, educated choice. Immunosuppressive medications, which keep the recipient's body from rejecting the donor kidney, have improved greatly over the last few years. Now, a genetic link between the donor and recipient does not appear to be necessary to ensure a successful transplant. Before surgery, the donor will receive education and counseling to help prepare mentally and emotionally for the donation and recovery. If the donor has questions, the transplant team can help. The decision to donate will affect all members of the person’s family and should not be taken lightly. It is quite normal for a donor and the donor’s family to have fears and concerns about potential complications. This might be felt by some as reluctance to donate; yet it is natural reaction to a major surgery. Potential donors should speak openly with the transplant team about these fears. All conversations between the living donor and the transplant team and the results of medical testing will be kept confidential.
Who pays for living donation?
The cost of the living donor’s evaluation, testing and surgery are generally paid for by the recipient’s Medicare or private health insurance, if the donation is to a family member or friend. Donors should always coordinate their tests with the transplant coordinator at the hospital in case there are any exceptions. Time off from work and travel expenses are not covered by Medicare or private insurance. General Health Maintenance screening such as Pap Smear, Mammogram and Colonoscopy will be billed to the donors insurance if they have any. However, donors may be eligible for Act sick leave, state disability and the Family and Medical Leave (FMLA). Some follow-up expenses may also not be covered, so it’s important to discuss these matters with the transplant center.
What tests are used to determine if someone can be a kidney donor?
First you will be tested to see if you match your recipient. (Blood Type, HLA Antigens and crossmatch.) If you are compatible (a match) with your recipient you will begin a medical work up. Potential donors will have blood, urine and X-Ray tests to determine suitability for donation. A full physical examination will be done, and psychology evaluation may also be required. Time will be allotted for asking questions and addressing any concerns the donor may have. Before surgery, special x-rays will be taken of the donor’s kidneys, including a spiral CT scan to check the anatomy of the kidney.
Who pays for the costs?
The recipient you test for - his insurance pays for your medical testing, except for routine tests that one would normally take:
Routine tests for women: Pap Smear, if over 40: Mammogram If over 50: Colonoscopy.
Routine tests for men: If over 50: Colonoscopy
A blood sample is taken to:
Assess the hematological system
Assess clotting mechanism
Assess baseline kidney function
Screen for abnormal electrolyte balance
Screen for unsuspected tendency toward glucose intolerance
Screen for venereal disease
Screen for pancreatis
Screen for liver abnormalities, which might delay the transplant until the cause is found (fluid overload, acute or chronic hepatitis)
Determine whether or not the patient has Hepatitis B
If HbsAB is positive (and the HbsAg is negative), the patient has developed antibodies to Hepatitis B either through vaccination or exposure Look for past or present viral activity If the donor is CMV positive, the recipient is CMV negative the recipient will need to receive Gancyclovir post transplant to prevent activation of the disease
Screen for the HIV virus.
Other Tests and Appointments
An EKG will be performed to assess heart function. Some donors may need an echocardiogram and a stress test.
A chest x-ray will be used to assess the lungs for the presence of any abnormalities.
A medical history review and physical examination will be done by the Transplant Surgeon, a Nephrologist, and the Donor Surgeon.
An extensive review of all systems, including previous illnesses and surgeries and past family medical history. Any abnormalities found are investigated further before invasive tests are performed. motivation. If the potential donor does not want to donate, the transplant team can help the donor decline in a way that preserves the family relationships., and evaluate if there is family pressure or financial incentive to donate, Female donor candidates will undergo a gynecological exam and mammography.
Kidney Function Tests
Urine samples are taken to:
Screen for kidney disease or any abnormalities
Determine the absence or presence of a urinary tract infection.
Assess the amount of protein excreted in a 24-hour period. An increased secretion of protein would need to be evaluated before resuming the evaluation; the creatinine clearance is to determine adequate kidney function and to ensure that the 24 hour collection is an adequate one.
A Radioneuclotide Renal Scan is done to assess the function of your kidneys. To measure how they pick up and excrete the radio-tracer.
A Helical CT Scan which is used to evaluate the internal structure of the kidney, the vascular anatomy and look for the presence of cysts, tumors, etc.
When the tests are completed, the results are presented to the transplant team (Surgeons, Transplant Coordinators, Social Workers, Financial Counselors, etc.) to determine if the person is a suitable candidate for donation. The length of the testing process depends upon the availability of the donor for testing, the results of the completed tests, and the availability of the donor to
I want to be a donor to a friend or family member, but they won’t let me. What can I do?
Some individuals with kidney failure may decide they do not want the transplant or choose not to consider a living donor. The person with kidney failure can choose to accept or reject your offer to donate. He or she has the right to decide against a transplant (though you may feel it would help). The patient, who must live with the disease, has the right to decide what is to be done. That decision, as well as yours, must be respected.
What are the different types of surgery? How do I prepare for surgery? What are the risks?
Once all the testing has been successfully completed, the operation is scheduled. A general anesthetic is administered in the operating room. Generally, the donor and the recipient are in adjacent operating rooms. The kidney is carefully removed and transplanted into the recipient. Immediately, the donor’s single kidney should take over the work previously done by the recipient’s
two kidneys. Typically, the surgery takes 3 hours with time in the recovery room recovery afterward for obseration. A kidney can be removed in either of two ways, the traditional open surgery or the laparoscopic technique. Your transplant team can provide you with information about the different types of surgery. Some donors may not be able to have laparoscopic surgery because of previous
surgeries or anatomical variations. These variations are generally detected during the testing process, in which the potential donor would be notified that they would not be a candidate for laparoscopic donation. Some scheduled laparoscopic donations must be converted to the open technique during the surgery process.
What is the risk of surgery?
The surgery involves the same level of risk for the donor as any other major surgery. The major risks of surgery relate to anesthesia, blood loss, and the potential for injury to the kidney or other organs during the operation. Another difference in living donation is that the surgery is done for the recipient’s benefit and not for any medical need of the donor. This is the reason that the
donor must have a complete medical evaluation. The majority of complications following surgery are minor and may cause a longer hospitalization. Long-term complications are rare. The risks associated with surgery and donation are that 3 in 10,000 people can die having donor surgery. For some more information on risks - click on: - "Long Term Risks" from the National Kidney
Foundation website. (I donated a kidney in 2005 & have not had any complications to this day. My health is about the same as it was before I donated a kidney. And I actually feel even better!)
What is the recovery period and when can the donor return to normal activities?
The length of stay in the hospital will vary depending on the individual donor’s rate of recovery and the type of procedure performed (traditional vs laparoscopic kidney removal) although the usual stay is 2 to 3 days for either procedure. Although the rate of recovery varies greatly among individuals, in general patients are ready to return to work 3 to 6 weeks after an open nephrectomy and 10 days to two weeks after a laparoscopic kidney removal. Patients who need to lift weights in excess of 50lbs will need to wait 12 weeks (open procedure) or 3-4 weeks (laparoscopic procedure) before returning to manual labor activities. After leaving the hospital, the donor will typically feel tenderness, itching and some pain and numbness as the incision continues to heal. Generally, heavy lifting is not recommended for about six weeks following surgery. It is also recommended that donors avoid contact sports where the remaining kidney could be injured. It is important for the donor to speak with the transplant staff about the best ways to return as quickly as possible to being physically fit.
How does living donation affect the donor?
People can live normal lives with only one kidney. As long as the donor is evaluated thoroughly and cleared for donation, he or she can lead a normal life after the surgery. When the kidney is removed, the single normal kidney will increase in size to compensate for the loss of the donated kidney. The American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Family Physicians and the Medical Society of Sports Medicine have suggested that people with one kidney avoid sports that involve higher risks of heavy contact or collision. This includes, but is not limited to, boxing, field hockey, football, ice hockey, Lacrosse, martial arts, rodeo, soccer and wrestling. This may also include extreme activities such as skydiving. Anyone with a single kidney who decides to participate in these sports should be extra careful and wear protective padding. He or she should understand that the consequences of losing a single kidney are very serious. Donors are encouraged to have yearly medical follow-up with their primary care doctors. A urinalysis (urine test) and blood pressure check should be done every year, and kidney function should be checked every few years, or more often if an abnormal urinalysis or blood pressure is found. Living donation does not change life expectancy, and does not appear to increase the risk of kidney failure. In general, most people with a single normal kidney have few or no problems; however, you should always talk to your transplant team about the risks involved in donation. Pregnancy after donation is possible but is usually not
recommended for at least six months after the surgery. Living donors should talk to their physician about pregnancy and have good pre-natal care. Some branches of military service, police and fire departments will not accept individuals with only one kidney. If you are already in military service, certain new service career options may not be available to you. If you are currently in one of
these fields, or if your future plans include these career choices, you should check to see if living donation would affect your eligibility for that particular field.
Are there any dietary restrictions prior to, or after donation?
If the donor is overweight, he/she may need to lose weight before the transplant Eat a healthy low fat diet. Avoid these low carb high protein diets because they can affect your kidneys (even if you had two). But those are more general health issues, and not related to living donation per se.
Can smokers be living donors?
Smoking is considered a risk to the potential donor. Because smoking damages the lungs, it may put the donor at a higher risk of developing pneumonia after surgery. In general it is best for one to stop smoking for good, but if you can’t, stop at least two weeks before surgery. Some smokers may need to see a pulmonary specialist before donating.
Will I be able to obtain insurance coverage after donation?
If your health remains stable, you shouldn’t have problems in obtaining health or life insurance. However, there have been some instances (rare) in which living donors had difficulty changing insurance carriers after the donation, due to higher premiums or a pre-existing waiting period. Talk to the financial counselor and social worker to find out if donation will affect your health or life insurance coverage.
What is a Donor Advocate?
A donor advocate is a medical professional, usually a doctor, whose sole focus in the donor evaluation is to protect the best interests of the donor. Physicians involved with the care of potential recipients are, and ought to be, primarily concerned with the recipient's interests. Two separate physicians, one for the donor and not involved in the candidate or recipient's care can be a way
to eliminate any conflict of interest between the potential donor and candidate's needs. Ideally, the donor advocate is in a position to veto the transplant if they feel it would cause unacceptable risk to the donor. You will be seen by a Nephrologist and a Surgeon who are not involved with the care of the recipient they will act as a donor advocate for you at the hospital.
Common questions that have been asked:
1. If I am registered with the Bone Marrow registry, can that information be used for kidney donation? No, The testing for kidney donation is totally different. The blood of the donor and the recipient in kidney donation have to be mixed together to see if it is compatible. And with bone marrow, it is a better match if the donor and recipient have similar backgrounds. This is not so with kidney donation.
2. Can a man only donate a kidney to a man and a woman only to a woman? No, A man can donate to a woman and visa versa
3. If I am on medication - will I be able to donate a kidney? It depends what you are on medication for and depending also on which medication you are on.
4. I have kids and concerned about donating a kidney. What if one of my kids will need a kidney?
I have been asked this question by people in the past. If no one in your family currently has diabetes, high blood pressure and a history of kidney disease, I wouldn't let this be of great concern. I believe if you do a good deed, that good deed will be returned to you, one day. Perhaps, if one donates a kidney, G-d in return will make sure that no one in that family will never need one. I can't guarantee this, or be
held responsible, but I am a religious person and this is my viewpoint. I know several people with very large families - who have donated kidneys to strangers. People feel when someone out there is in great need and the need is now, to act now. We have no guaranty we will be alive when there is a need in the family. Also, many people do develop health issues as they get older, which can make them ineligible for kidney donation. If someone would donate a kidney through me and G-d forbid will later onhave a family member in need of a kidney, I will put that person in need of a kidney before everyone else on my list and will not rest until I find a kidney donor for that person!
5. Does donating a kidney have any impact on my being able to have more children in the future? No, Many people who have successfully donated a kidney have had children after kidney donation.
6. What if G-d forbid, years down the road, many years after donating a kidney that I will end up needing a kidney? One who donates a kidney moves up to the top of the national list for receiving a kidney from a cadaver.
7. Is there any age limit for donating a kidney? Most hospitals will tell you no age limit, as long as you are in very good health.
8. What health conditions can eliminate me as a donor? Cancer - depending on what type of cancer & how long ago one had it. No diabetes. Some hospitals will accept donors who have the low end of pre-diabetes or even someone who has high blood pressure controlled by one blood pressure pill and if they are above the age of 50 on the blood pressure medication - but I would not recommend it.
9. Are there any diseases that one can have & still donate a kidney? Yes, one can possibly donate a kidney if you have Hoshimato (an auto immune disease) and thyroid issues. One might possibly also be able to donate a kidney if they have had kidney stones over 5 years prior & if they had a certain type of cancer at least 5 years prior.