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Living Donor Kidney Center

How can we allow living kidney donation?

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When initially considering living kidney donation, one may consider the question of how or why the medical profession would allow someone to undergo surgery to donate a kidney to give to someone else in need of a transplant. Many studies have been performed to assess the risks of kidney donation on the people who made the choice to become a donor.

The majority of studies have found that:

  • The risk to a donor's physical health is minimal in both the short-term (surrounding the surgery) and long-term (in terms of kidney function, high blood pressure, and the donors lifespan).
  • Kidney donors tend to have higher quality of life scores after donation, as compared to the general population.
  • Donors have similar or improved psychosocial health after donation.
  • The overwhelming majority of donors would choose to donate again.

Visit our Living Donation Reference Center to find out more about the studies supporting the above statements.

The Basic Principles of Living Kidney Donation

  1. The prospective living organ donor should be:
    • Capable of making the decision to donate
    • Willing to donate
    • Free of coercion, manipulation, or undue solicitation by any party regarding the decision to donate
    • Medically suitable to donate
    • Psychosocially suitable to donate, based on an evaluation that includes a series of specific components
    • Fully informed of the risks and benefits to the donor, as demonstrated by the donor's expression of understanding of these risks and benefits
    • Fully informed of the risks, benefit and alternative treatment available to the recipient, within the constraints of the transplant center's obligation to maintain confidentiality of recipient medical information
    • Willing to sign a statement attesting that the donor is not providing the organ for monetary gain
  2. The prospective live organ donor should not be called upon to donate in clinically hopeless situations
  3. The benefits to both the donor and recipient should outweigh the risks associated with the donation and transplantation of the living donor organ
  4. Medical and psychosocial follow-up of the living donor after donation should be undertaken by the living donor program
from Guidelines for the Psychosocial Evaluation of Living Unrelated Kidney Donors in the United States (Dew MA et al, Am J Transplant 2007; 7(5):1047)

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