• FAQ & Kidney Donation Facts

    Frequently Asked Questions About Live Kidney Donation 

    Q: What is live donor kidney transplantation?

    A: Live donor kidney transplantation is a procedure in which a living donor gives one of his or her kidneys to a person in need of a kidney transplant.

    Q: Who is a candidate to receive a kidney transplant from a living donor?

    A: Candidates, or recipients, are those individuals with kidney disease who have been accepted and listed as appropriate deceased donor kidney transplant recipients (recipients of kidneys from deceased donors). 

    Q: Who can qualify as a kidney donor?

    A: Living kidney donors must meet certain criteria, such as having a compatible blood type and being between the ages of 18 and 65. They must also have no serious kidney problems or medical conditions such as diabetes, cancer or heart disease.

    Q: What is the evaluation process for kidney donors?

    A: After initial screening blood work is received and reviewed, a potential donor is scheduled for a consult with a transplant nurse and surgeon. This consult involves a discussion of the procedure itself, as well as an opportunity for the donor to ask any questions.

    Q: How is the kidney transplant surgery performed?

    A: Simultaneously, two separate surgical teams perform the kidney donor and recipient surgeries. As one team works on preparing the recipient for the kidney, the other is working on removing one of the donor’s kidneys.

    Q: How will my family know what is happening during my kidney surgery?

    A: Our family waiting room is staffed by a nurse liaison who will provide frequent updates to the families of the recipient and donor throughout the surgery.

    Q: How long will I be in the hospital after kidney surgery?

    A: The average donor will be in the hospital for 2 to 3 days.

    Q: Are there any restrictions for kidney donor recovery after surgery?

    A: There will be no changes to their diet, but they should drink at least two liters of water daily for the first month after surgery. They may resume sexual activities and are allowed to consume alcohol in moderation as soon as they receive clearance from their surgeon.

    Q: What follow-up appointments will I need?

    A: Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) requires donors to have follow-up appointments 2 weeks after surgery, then again at 6 months, 12 months, and 24 months. Lahey also recommends you get physical checkups every year after the 24-month follow-up appointment.

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