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Living Kidney Donation FAQ

Who can be a living kidney donor?

Anyone age 21 or older can be considered for living kidney donation at our Center. On rare occasions, we will consider persons age 18 to 20. Donors do not need to be related. It is becoming common for unrelated people to come forward and donate a kidney to someone in need.

How do I know if I am a match and how important is it to be a match?

We perform extensive testing between you and your intended recipient to assure compatibility. However, if you are not a match, options remain for you to help another recipient get a kidney transplant through what is called an “exchange.”

What is a donor advocate?

A donor advocate is a medical professional who advocates on your behalf to provide support and assure you have control and are comfortable with your decision, regardless if you donate. The Center for Living Organ Donors maintains confidentiality of your donor information.

How long does it take from starting the evaluation to approval?

Our process to determine whether a potential living organ donor is approved for donation takes two to four weeks. This process begins when a potential donor attends our Living Donor Evaluation Clinic. Our Donor Advocacy Panel, made up of transplant professionals, handles the review and decision process.

What are some reasons the Donor Advocacy Panel would not allow me to donate?

The most common reason is if your testing shows you have a risk of developing health conditions that could result in poor kidney function in the future. Other reasons could include active substance abuse, psychiatric problems or other psycho-social reasons that, with donating, would add undue risk to you.

May I donate if the Donor Advocacy Panel says no?

No, as this decision has been made in the interest of your safety. However, you are free to get a second opinion from another center. We can facilitate transfer of your medical information to a center of your choice

If I donate, how long will I be in the hospital and what is the anticipated recovery from surgery?

Most donors stay in the hospital two nights before hospital discharge. As a general guideline, previous donors have reported being 80 percent recovered by two weeks and 100 percent by three weeks after surgery.

What is the follow-up after surgery?

We typically see donors 1.5 weeks after surgery. We are required by United Network of Organ Sharing (UNOS) to see you at the six-month, one-year and two-year mark after your donation. In addition, our kidney and liver transplant program is the first in the United States to offer donors long-term medical and social monitoring related to their donation.

Will I be able to drive after my surgery?

You should not drive the first week after surgery. After that, driving should be fine as long as you no longer require narcotic pain medication and can get in and out of the car without discomfort.
transplant patient story

Caitlin and Sophie’s Story

These two women share a bond through a liver transplant. Video courtesy of American Liver Foundation.

David Mulligan, MD

Living Organ Donor Registration