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Organ Donation & Transplant Information

Information from United Network of Organ Sharing

What is living donation?
Living donation takes place when a living person donates an organ or part of an organ for transplantation to another person.

What is living related donation?
Related living donors are healthy blood relatives of the transplant candidate. They can be:

  • Brothers and sisters
  • Parents
  • Children over 18 years of age
  • Other blood relatives (uncles, aunts, cousins, nieces, nephews, half siblings)


What is non-related donation?
Unrelated living donors are healthy individuals emotionally close to, but not blood related to transplant candidates. They can be:

  • Spouses
  • In-laws
  • Step-parents
  • Close friends, coworkers, neighbors or other acquaintances


What organs can be donated by living donors?

  • Kidney
  • Liver (a segment of the liver is donated, as it will regenerate and grow back)
  • Lung (a lobe of one lung)
  • Intestine (a portion of the intestine)
  • Pancreas (a portion of the pancreas can be donated)

 

What are the advantages of living donation over non-living donation?
Some living donor transplants are done between family members who are genetically similar. A better genetic match lessens the risk of rejection. In addition, potential donors undergo a battery of tests to make sure they are healthy.

What are the qualifications for living donors?
Individual must be:

  • Physically fit
  • In good general health
  • Free from high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, kidney or heart disease
  • Between the ages of 18-60 years of age


What are the costs related to living donation?
Most medical costs associated with living donation are covered by the recipient’s insurance. The government requires that certified transplant centers charge an “acquisition fee” to the recipients insurance, which covers the medical costs for the donor. Some things not included in this fee, which will not be covered, would be annual physicals, travel, lodging, lost-wages and other non-medical expenses.

Is there risk with living donation?
All patients experience some pain and discomfort after a surgical procedure. As with any major operation, there are risks involved. It is possible to develop infections or bleeding, or if a portion of an organ is donated, that organ may be injured.

What is involved in becoming a living donor?
Living donation is arranged through individual transplant centers according to their protocols.

Do some people have trouble making the decision to become a living organ donor?
Yes. Although some people can easily make the decision, many go through a bit of soul-searching before deciding. It’s very normal to be afraid of giving away part of your body and to experience guilt about not wanting to be a donor.

Will donating a kidney prevent you from becoming pregnant or from fathering a child?
NO.

If I am cleared to be a donor, how is it decided when the transplant will take place?
The decision is made jointly by the transplant team, by you, and by the recipient. The transplant team, especially the physician, will determine as accurately as possible the best time to do the transplant, based on the recipient’s medical condition.

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