Many people who donate a kidney are related to the recipient. However, you can also donate a kidney on your own as well. Regardless of the reason, there are a number of criteria you first must meet in order to be a donor and undertake this type of surgery.
In the case where you donate a kidney to a family member, the decision can be easy. When a donee has lost most of his kidney function or is determined to have End Stage Renal Disease or ESRD, options either include dialysis or a kidney transplant.
At this point, if you wish to be a donor, you will probably be asking yourself if you qualify. In most circumstances, donors are related to the patient. Yet, as stated, this doesn’t have to be the case.
To qualify, a donor candidate should be in good health and fall between the ages of 18 and 70 years old. Generally, if a potential donor has cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, sickle cell anemia, hepatitis or of course kidney disease, he will probably not meet the requirements to become a donor.
If you decide to go forth and become a donor, normally you will fill out a form and follow up the initial sign-up with a phone interview. Thereafter, your blood is usually tested to make sure you’re a suitable match. If you pass your blood test, then you will generally undergo a medical evaluation to make sure that you can safely undergo surgery to remove your kidney. In order for this to happen, you will, in most instances, meet with a nephrologist and surgeon so you can discuss the overall procedure with them as well as review the associated risks.
Most people can function fine with only one kidney and do not suffer any ill effects. Plus, there is no need to take any special medicine after a donation. You can proceed with your life as you did before you opted for the surgery.
If a transplant is scheduled, it typically is calendared about one to two months after an evaluation. A kidney removal is termed as a nephrectomy and is completed in one of two ways. Either a donor will undergo a traditional nephrectomy or a laparoscopic nephrectomy. The latter surgery usually allows for a faster healing time and donors can leave the hospital, on average, a couple days after surgery and return to normal activities, at the most, in three weeks. The traditional surgery normally requires a hospital stay of five days and donors can return to work or regular activities in about a month.
With regards to any after-surgery follow-up, a donor, in many cases, is seen by a nephrologist about six months or a little more after the surgery. At that time, the donor is evaluated with regards to the functioning of his remaining kidney.
Whether you choose to go through a healthcare facility or begin by visiting an online source, such as matchingdonors.com, you must decide to donate without any outside pressure. The decision is yours and yours alone when donating a kidney.