There are three types of living kidney donations:
- Living Related Donor (parent, sibling, or child)
- Living Unrelated Donor (friend or spouse)
- Paired Donor (compatible live donors identified and matched by MTI)
- Donors can be identified at any time.
Statistics have shown that living donor transplants result in:
- The best long-term success rates
- Lower rates of rejection
- Considerably less waiting time for recipients
Those are the benefits for the individuals receiving the organs. But what can you can gain by donating? Or what would you lose?
In short, you have much to gain:
- The donation of a kidney does not change your life expectancy nor increase your risk for kidney failure.
- You help meet the demand for transplants, which far outweigh the availability of the organs.
- You can continue to live a healthy, active lifestyle.
- You do not need to change your diet, exercise, or activities.
- You will be giving someone the gift of life.
The Kidney and Pancreas Division at the University of Miami/.Jackson Memorial Hospital is ranked in the top 5% over the last 10 years for graft and patient survival as well as the volume of patients done.
How do I know if I am able to donate?
1. Individual 18 – 65 years of age.
2. Immediate and/or extended family member or emotionally bonded significant other
3. Good general health.
4. Willing and able to participate both physically and emotionally.
5. Identifiable support system
1. Morbid obesity (BMI > 40)
3. Diabetes Mellitus
4. Evidence of current severe medical condition that would place the patient at risk.
5. Current alcohol or drug use.
6. Active infections including HCV and HIV/AIDS
7. Current psychiatric or psychological pathology
Kidney donation facts:
- All testing is done as an outpatient
- There are no costs to the donor for evaluation, surgery, or immediate post-operative care
- Recovery time is 2 to 6 weeks
- No heavy lifting for 6 weeks
- Women can become pregnant after kidney donation
- Surgery is 3 to 4 hours
- Hospitalization is 3 to 4 days
How do I begin the donor process”
Phase 1- Referral
Step 1: Screening
An initial 20-minute screening questionnaire (by phone or in person) will be conducted to assess past medical, surgical, social and family history. We will screen up to three potential donors for each recipient at a time.
Step 2: Blood Testing Insert
Local donors are tested at Transplant Center and out-of area donors will FedEx blood for testing against recipient.
We use these blood tests along with your medical history to determine which candidate is the “best match” for the recipient. You will be notified by our donor team as to whether you have been chosen as the “best match” to enter Phase II of the donor evaluation. You will be asked whether you wish to proceed with further workup for kidney donation.
Your complete medical work-up is confidential and will not be shared with the recipient. If at any time during the process you should decide not to donate, simply notify us. The donor team will give you a confidential “opt-out”, no questions asked without consequences. Our team will then inform the recipient for you. Your medical evaluation will remain confidential at all times.
Phase 2: Evaluation:
Your testing is designed to further determine your medical and psychological candidacy as a live kidney donor. This process can generally be completed within two to three working days. You will attend a group educational class to explain the donation process. In addition, our medical nephrologist and team will independently discuss the risks, benefits and alternatives with you.
Your testing will include the following routine tests/evaluation:
1. History and physical exam by a medical nephrologist or surgeon
2. Lab (blood) tests
3. Urine sample for evaluation
4. Stool sample for evaluation
5. Quantiferon Gold Test (Tuberculosis blood test)
6. Chest x-ray and abdominal film
8. Mammogram (women> 40y, strong family history or breast mass)
9. Gynecological exam (Pap smear/pelvic) – all females
10. Psychological/Social evaluation
11. Spiral CT scan
You may be required to complete further evaluation (diagnostic tests, specialty medical consultation or laboratory studies) depending on your age, underlying health status and/or test results. Additional evaluation, if required, will obviously extend the process.
How is my surgery determined?
Once the donor surgeon has reviewed your medical work-up and the spiral CT scan and determined that no further testing is required, we will schedule your surgery. We will need to work with the recipient coordinator to find the next available, mutually acceptable date for both you and your recipient.
Once a date for surgery has been agreed upon, we will schedule you for PHASE III (the Final Phase of the donor evaluation).
This includes the following evaluations:
1. Final Medical Clearance (with nephrologist)
2. Surgical Clearance (with donor surgeon)
3. Anesthesia Clearance (pre-operative evaluation). This will include any updating
any labs (blood, urine, crossmatch) and/or diagnostic testing (Chest x-ray and EKG) required.
Occasionally, during testing and even in the final phases of evaluation, we diagnose an underlying medical condition which may disqualify you as a donor. If this should occur, we will notify you and provide you with a letter and a copy of your medical records. You will then need to follow up with your primary care physician for further evaluation and potential treatment.
If you are unable to be a live kidney donor due to an underlying medical issue, your own medical insurance will need to cover these expenses.