Kidney Donation FAQs

1. Is kidney donation safe?

Yes. Donating a kidney is considered very safe and associated with minimal long-term risks. After recuperating from the procedure, the donor can expect to lead a completely normal life with no restrictions to diet, physical activities or additional medication1. Furthermore, donating a kidney does not affect a person’s life expectancy.2 A detailed health screening process ensures that only people who are healthy enough will be able to donate their kidney.

Sue is registered at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia hospital, the leading kidney transplant center in the New York region.

2. How long does the procedure take? When can I go back to work?

The procedure takes around 3 hours and donors are typically dismissed from the hospital in 2 days3. Donors can typically return to all their normal activities within 3 weeks.

Many employers, including the federal government, will give donors a few weeks off on paid leave after the transplant.

3. Does insurance cover the entire procedure? What will my out-of-pocket costs be?

Yes, the transplant recipients insurance (Sue’s insurance) covers the entire cost of the procedure. You will incur no financial cost from the procedure or hospital stay.

4. What if I want to donate my kidney to Sue but I am not a match?

You can still donate your kidney to help Sue find her match through a paired exchange

Paired Exchange: In a paired exchange, the recipient in one pair is compatible with the donor from the other pair and vice versa. The transplant center arranges for a “swap,” in which each donor gives a kidney to the recipient in the other pair. This allows two transplant candidates to receive organs and two donors to give organs even though the original recipient/donor pairs were incompatible4.

5. Who is eligible to donate?

6. Is the process confidential?

Yes, it is 100% confidential. Neither Sue nor our family will know the name of any person that registers. We will not even know the status of the donor screening unless a potential donor wishes to disclose this to us directly. Once approved as a donor, the donor coordinator will notify Sue that a candidate has been found. You can feel free to drop out of the process at any time for any reason.

7. I’m interested, how do I proceed to see if I am eligible to donate to Sue?

Additional resources

Sources:

1 https://columbiasurgery.org/kidney-transplant/becoming-kidney-donor
2 https://www.lahey.org/lhmc/department/transplantation/live-donor-kidney-transplant/pros-cons/
3 https://www.northwell.edu/nephrology/treatments/kidney-donation
4 https://www.ucsfhealth.org/programs/living-kidney-donor-programs


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