As a loved one to someone with chronic kidney disease, you may feel inspired to consider kidney donation. This type of donation is called living organ donation. CKD patients who receive a living kidney transplant tend to live longer and healthier lives than those on dialysis. There are benefits for the donor, too. You may feel good about significantly improving another person’s life, and even learn more about your own health through the donor assessment process.
As with any operation, there are some risks to donating a kidney. While your risk of developing kidney failure later in life will be no higher than it is for others, your risk of kidney failure is higher than it is for healthy individuals who do not donate. You may also have to manage stresses like taking time off work, excusing yourself from other obligations during recovery, and any other complications that arise as a result of the surgery.
It’s extremely important that you make this decision voluntarily and without guilt or pressure. After all, you’re donating an organ! Here are a few questions to ask yourself through the decision making process.
- Why do I want to donate a kidney?
- Is my family aware that I’m interested in living donation?
- Have I had an honest conversation with my family about the medical and financial risks of donation?
- Who would be available and willing to help me during recovery?
- How much do I know about the risks of donating a kidney? What concerns do I still have?
- Am I prepared to undergo a rigorous assessment process that may take several months?
- Am I prepared for the possibility that unknown health concerns may be discovered during assessment that could prevent me from donating?
- Do I have enough PTO, flexibility in my job, and savings for this process?
- Am I comfortable living with one kidney?
To learn more about living kidney donation, talk to a Nephrology Associates of Greater Cincinnati care team member.