Thursday, December 8, 2016

Transplant Thursday-So You Are Thinking About Donating

Are you curious about donating a kidney to someone? Welcome. I donated to my cousin almost two years ago.  I would never have considered myself donor material. Most of that is due to the incorrect image that I had of donors. Once I talked with my cousin, I learned that I just might be eligible.

According to the Living Kidney Donors Network, a living donor must be physically fit, in good health, free from high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, kidney disease and heart disease.

Individuals considered for living donation are usually between 18-60 years of age. (Living donors older than 65 years of age have successfully donated.)

Routine tests are always performed to determine not only the potential donor's level of physical and mental health, but also their compatibility with the patient awaiting a transplant. Results of these tests will determine if someone could donate.

Living donation occurs only when there is informed consent that is freely given. This means, you should agree to be a living donor only after you have been fully educated on the subject, its risks and rewards, and when your agreement to donate is without pressure from other people.

So, if you are the least bit curious, here are 5 important things to know:  Many people say that they are going to get tested, but not all do.  For many, the reasons are the result of a lack of information.
  1. Your initial questions can be answered by the hospital's transplant coordinator. Call the hospital where your friend/loved one/etc. is registered. 
  2. From the moment that you speak to any of medical professionals until the moment that they wheel you in for surgery (if you choose to go that far), you are under no obligation to donate.   As a matter of fact, every person that is involved in your screening and testing will tell you that. 
  3. The testing and transplant is covered under the recipient's insurance at no cost to him/her.
  4. Once you pass the initial screening, you will be assigned your own donor transplant team.  They do not meet with/consult/collaborate with the recipient's team.  This ensures that your wishes are honored.
  5. Here's my favorite: Most kidney transplant surgeries are done as a laparoscopy.  This means small incisions and great recovery time.
Check back each week for the next installment in Transplant Thursday.  I'll include information about the steps in donating so that you can make an informed decision. In the meantime, write a comment below. Tell me a little about the reason why you're considering donating.  I'd love to hear your story! 

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