Donating a kidney is a major decision that can have life-changing consequences for both the donor and the recipient. While it is a noble act, it is important to understand the risks and benefits associated with this procedure. The risks of major surgery include bleeding and infection, but most kidney donors recover with little or no problems. After surgery to remove a kidney (nephrectomy), you may stay in the hospital for 1 to 2 nights.
Some donors have reported long-term problems with pain, nerve damage, hernias, or intestinal obstruction. These risks appear to be rare, but there are currently no national statistics on the frequency of these problems. Surgery to donate a kidney has the same risks and side effects that are common in any major surgery. Side effects may include nausea, vomiting, and constipation.
Many people feel some numbness around the incision.Most complications don't happen very often and most can be treated. Before donating a kidney, potential donors must undergo a medical exam with blood tests to make sure they are healthy enough to donate. If you have two healthy kidneys, you may be able to donate one of your kidneys to improve or save someone else's life. Your transplant team will talk with you about any pre-existing conditions or other factors that may increase your risk of developing kidney disease, and will consider this carefully before making a decision about donating.When the kidney is removed, the single normal kidney will increase in size to compensate for the loss of the donated kidney.
If you donate to a transplant center associated with the National Kidney Registry and, for some reason, need a kidney after donation, priority will be given to a kidney from a living donor. We have passed the Living Donor Protection Act, which protects donors from being denied life, disability or long-term care insurance after donating.In many ways, the benefits of kidney donation are personal and cannot be known to anyone other than the person who donates or has donated. A living donor is a healthy person who has undergone extensive testing and agrees to donate a healthy kidney to an ESRD patient. Kidney donors typically experience a 20 to 30 percent decrease in kidney function (measured by glomerular filtration rate) after donation.
Another way to donate a kidney while you're alive is to donate a kidney to someone you don't necessarily know.If you have two healthy kidneys, you may be able to donate one of your kidneys to a person with kidney failure. Each donor's motivations can vary greatly, and each donor has a unique experience as they go through the process of donating their kidney, from the initial decision to be evaluated as a potential donor to years after the donation occurs.Plus, donating live kidneys is incredibly safe for donors: less than 1 percent of donors will end up receiving dialysis themselves in the future, which is only slightly higher than the average risk of a person with two healthy kidneys. On the other hand, the potential donor is likely to feel stress and worry about the possibility of donating his organ, requiring him to undergo surgery himself. Donating a kidney is an incredibly generous act that can save someone's life.
It is important for potential donors to understand all of the risks and benefits associated with this procedure before making their decision.