Each and every day, thousands of people wait for a telephone call that could literally save their lives. These individuals are waiting for a life-saving transplant. This is due to an organ donor shortage. But there is hope. The number of living donations is increasing.
LIVING DONATION IS AN ACT THAT DEMONSTRATES A GENEROSITY OF SPIRIT!
What is a living donor?
It is a live person who makes the decision to donate a kidney to help save a life. There are two types of living kidney donors – related and unrelated. A related donor is a healthy blood relative such as a parent, sibling, child or cousin over the age of 18. An unrelated donor is someone who is not a blood relative, over the age of 18, and is a match for someone in need of a kidney transplant. An unrelated donor can be a spouse, friend, co-worker, neighbor or a person who wants to help save a life by donating to someone on the waiting list.
Nearly 6,000 living donations take place each year. That’s about 4 out of every 10 donations.
Most living donations happen among family members or between close friends. Some people are altruistic living donors because they choose to donate to someone they don’t know.
A kidney is the most frequently donated organ from a living donor. The donor’s remaining kidney provides the necessary function needed to remove waste from the body.
Here are some most frequently asked questions:
Q. Can I live on one kidney?
A. Yes. The body has two kidneys and is capable of functioning with just one kidney.
Q. Can I return to a normal life after I donate?
A. Yes, of course! You will only need to continue to live a healthy life style such as eating nutritious meals, exercising and drinking plenty of water.
Q. How much pain will I experience after surgery?
A. As with any surgery, there will be discomfort as your body will need time to heal. While you are in the hospital, you will be given medication. (You may also receive medication after you leave the hospital.)
Q. Is there a cost to the donor?
A. No. The costs will be covered by the transplant recipient’s insurance at 100%.
Q. How soon can I return to work?
A. You may be able to return to work with a week or two.
Q. Will being a living donor interfere with my ability to have children?
A. No. There are many donors and recipients who have been able to have children.
Q. Will there be food or diet restrictions after I donate?
A. No. You will need to drink plenty of water and maintain a healthy lifestyle with nutritious meals.
Q. Will my physical activity be limited?
A. As with any surgery, you will need time to fully recover. Most donors are able to resume normal activity within 1-2 weeks.
Q. If I am a living donor, how long will I have to stay in the hospital?
A. The average stay is 3-5 days.
Q. Can I donate to someone if I am not related to them?
A. Yes. There is just as much success with unrelated donations. A living donation can be made to anyone on the transplant waiting list as long as there is a match.