Help Us Save A Life
Help Us Save A Life
The risk of complications from kidney donation surgery is low. Nationwide, the risk of death from donation is very low. On average there are three deaths for every 10,000 living donor surgeries performed. We have not had any deaths from living donor surgery at BIDMC.
Possible complications for living donor surgery are very similar to possible complications of any general abdominal surgery. These include, but are not limited to:
The recipient does not need to have a blood relationship to someone to receive a kidney transplant from them.
While living kidney donor evaluations need to be performed at BIDMC, out of town donors will be considered. Some donors can receive travel assistance from the National Living Donor Assistance Center and your social worker will review this with you to help determine eligibility.
There is pain associated with the surgery, but our donors say that this is well controlled with medication. In addition to the pain medication that you receive in the hospital, we will prescribe pain medication to have at home as well. For the first few weeks after kidney donation surgery, you may feel tired and emotionally drained.
Most living donors return to work about four weeks after surgery. If you have a job that requires little or no strenuous physical activity (like a desk job), you might be able to return to work in less than four weeks. If you have a more strenuous or physically demanding job (like roofing or construction), it might take you longer than four weeks before you can return to work.
Living donors do not require lifelong medications.
The vast majority of kidney transplants from living donors are successful, and the recipient lives a longer, healthier life through your generous gift. However, there is a small chance (1 percent at our center) that the transplant could fail in the first year. The kidney could fail because the recipient's immune system rejects the kidney or because of technical problems during surgery. In a very small number of cases, this can happen even when all of the medical tests showed that the donated kidney should work just fine. If this should happen, both of you will understandably feel very sad or depressed. You can take comfort in knowing that you gave generously and freely to improve a life, and that your relative or friend may be able to consider another transplant or dialysis.
The donor evaluation process is confidential. Only the donor can share information with the recipient. The Donor Team is not able to speak directly to the recipient.
There are many emotions and feelings involved for you and the recipient. The recipient may worry about you and may even feel guilty because you are having surgery.
Also, you may feel hurt or angry if you believe the recipient is not taking proper care of themselves after the transplant.
Research by our transplant psychologist shows that your relationship with the recipient is not likely to change that much, if at all, in the months and years after donation.
If you are concerned about your relationship changing, talk with the recipient directly or ask the transplant psychologist or social worker to help.
The evaluation, surgery and follow up costs are billed to the recipient’s insurance.
However, you will need some time away from work and you may lose pay as a result, especially if you do not have sick or vacation time.
Some employers and businesses have a special program for living donors where you can take paid sick leave without using your own sick or vacation time.
There may be other expenses to consider, such as childcare, travel and lodging. There is special national fund to help living donors with these costs, but there are certain qualifications that you must meet to be eligible to apply for these funds.
Our financial coordinator or social worker can address your questions or concerns.
Yes, of course.
Your decision to donate a kidney must be one that you are completely comfortable with and that is made free of any pressure or coercion.
You can decide not to donate at any time throughout the evaluation process.
You can also ask us for more time to further consider your decision, and we will "pause" the evaluation process until you are ready to continue.
If you decide you are not able to donate a kidney, talk with your Independent Living Donor Advocate
For some donors, it comes down to helping a relative or friend in need now and trusting that others will come forward to give to a child or spouse in the future - should they even need a kidney.
And you may not be the best match for another loved one or friend.
Our transplant psychologist or social worker can help you address these concerns and think through your decision.
We understand and respect the concerns that potential donors have as they consider this important decision.
We make every effort to address these concerns with you and your family during the donor evaluation process.
After recovery from surgery, donors can live a normal life without limitations on their activity.
Female donors are able to have healthy pregnancies after donation. It is recommended that pregnancy be postponed for 1 year after donation.
Anyone interested in considering living donation is encouraged to complete the online questionnaire or call the donor coordinator to learn about the donation process and complete a health history.
The Donor Team will review all donor candidates to determine who is best suited to complete the donor evaluation.