16 Dec Living Kidney Donation FAQ

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Are you interested in becoming a living kidney donor?

Organ donation is offering the gift of life.

It can come in the form of a living related organ donation, a living non-related organ donation or a deceased organ donation. Living organ donors face the unique advantage of seeing their gift in use.  Below, we answered just a few of the questions you may be having about becoming a living kidney donor.

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Eileen W. smiles with her living kidney donor!

 


 

Can I live with one kidney?

Yes. Once your kidney is removed, your other kidney will compensate for the donated kidney.

 


 

What is the recovery time?

The hospital stay is 2-3 days. Full recovery for a kidney donor is usually 4-6 weeks.

 


 

Is there a financial burden? What financial resources are available to help me?

The transplant recipient’s insurance will cover your medical expenses as a donor including evaluation, surgery, and follow-up appointments. The Affordable Care Act has made it illegal for health insurance to refuse to cover you or charge you more for a condition. You should speak with your transplant coordinator for more information.

 


 

What if I feel compelled to give, but I don’t know who to give to?

Talk with a transplant coordinator about altruistic living kidney donation, or non-directed donation.

 


 

What if the person I want to donate to is not a match?

Talk with a transplant coordinator about paired living kidney donation. You may still be able to donate and help your recipient.

 


 

What if my remaining kidney fails?

Though extremely rare, if you are a kidney donor and your remaining kidney fails later in life, for any reason, you can be moved to the top of the transplant waiting list. 

 


 

FAST FACTS (side bar)

Since 2012, there have been nearly 6,000 living donor transplants per year in the US. (UNOS, 2016)

 

Paired kidney donation “involves two pairs of living kidney donors & transplant candidates who ‘trade’ donors so that each candidate receives a kidney from a donor with a compatible blood type.” (UNOS, 2016)

 

In 2015, there were 70 living donor transplants in Tennessee. (UNOS, 2016)

Are you considering receiving a kidney transplant from a living donor?

Are you considering receiving a kidney transplant from a living donor?

A transplant can come in the form of a living related organ donation, a living non-related organ donation or a deceased organ donation. Below, we answered just a few of the questions you may be having about living kidney donation.

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John S. received a kidney from a living donor in 2015.

 


 

How do I ask someone to donate a kidney to me?

First, start by talking with your friends and family. If no one is a match in your immediate friends or family, try using social media or writing a blog post.  Sharing your story and connecting with others online can be a powerful tool when looking for a living donor. This can be difficult for some people. Ask someone close to you to be your “champion.” He or she can help you get the word out by being your advocate. Talk with your REACH coordinator or transplant team for references on how to make this easier.

 


 

How can I be listed at transplant centers?

To become a transplant candidate, you must be evaluated and accepted by a transplant hospital. To be listed at multiple hospitals, it is up to each individual hospital to decide whether to accept you as a candidate. If you are considering multiple listing, you should ask the transplant team at each hospital how they handle multiple listings.

 


 

Are there resources available to help me?

Yes! Your REACH Kidney Care team is here to help you with each step of your transplant journey. United Network for Organ Sharing and the National Kidney Foundation also provide helpful information.

 


 

What is the recovery time?

The hospital stay is usually 3-5 days. Full recovery is 4-6 weeks.

 


 

What kind of medications will I need? How long will I need them for?

You will take immunosuppression medications for the rest of your life to prevent transplant rejection. Your transplant team will help you learn the names of your medications, dosage amounts and times.

 


 

Will Medicaid or Medicare pay for my immunosuppression medications?

If you are covered under Medicare Part B, your plan includes 36 months of coverage. However, in Sept. 2016, the Immunosuppressive Drug Coverage for Kidney Transplant Patients Act was introduced. This legislation would allow eligible kidney recipients to receive their drugs under Medicare Part B past the 36-month cutoff. You will need to talk with your transplant coordinator to see what your coverage looks like. 

 


 

What if I was told I am not eligible for a transplant?

If you were told you are not eligible for a transplant, ask your transplant team why. Sometimes adjusting your diet or medications may make you eligible. If not, your options include in-center dialysis, home dialysis or medical management without dialysis. Talk to your team about your options.