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Living Kidney Donor

Arizona has an extensive need for more living donors to satisfy a wait-list in the 1,000’s.  St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center provides a living donor program for those considering kidney donation. A rigorous physical is included and the time from registration to donation can be in as little as 4 weeks. Of course, donor needs are always considered to allow for work/life balance.  For information on how to become a donor, please call our transplant coordinator at (602) 406-8452

Being a Living Donor 

More than 120,000 people are listed for an organ transplant nationwide. Many face a lengthy wait for an available organ. To spare an individual patient a long and uncertain wait, relatives, loved ones, friends, and even individuals who wish to remain anonymous may serve as living donors. About 6,000 transplants each year are made possible by living donors. 

Living donors should be in good overall physical and mental health and older than 18 years of age. Some medical conditions could prevent you from being a living donor. Medical conditions that may prevent a living kidney donation may include uncontrolled high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, HIV, hepatitis, acute infections, or a psychiatric condition requiring treatment. Since some donor health conditions could harm a transplant recipient, it is important that you share all information about your physical and mental health.

You must be fully informed of the known risks involved with donating and complete a full medical and psychosocial evaluation. Your decision to donate should be completely voluntary and free of pressure or guilt.

Learn more about Kidney donor facts here:  https://transplantliving.org/living-donation/facts/

About the Operation

As a kidney donor, you can generally expect to stay in the hospital for three to seven days after surgery. Most kidney donors resume normal activities after four to six weeks, depending on the physical demands of their daily living and work tasks. You may not be able to drive for up to two weeks. You may have lifting restrictions for at least six weeks. Many donors have reported experiencing fatigue for varied periods of time.

As a liver donor, you may stay in the hospital up to a week, or longer in some cases. The liver typically regrows to normal size in two months. Most liver donors return to work and normal activities in two months, although some may need more time. Every transplant center is required to report living donor follow-up data at six months, 12 months and 24 months post donation. 

Attend all follow-up appointments to make sure that you are recovering appropriately. What we learn about donor outcomes can help future potential living donors make informed decisions. Think about how the donation process may affect your daily activities. Who will serve as your caregiver and support you during your recovery, especially if you have to travel a long distance for the surgery? How much time off will you need from work? How will this affect your care giving responsibilities such as childcare or caring for an elderly relative?

Learn more about the operation here: https://transplantliving.org/living-donation/about-the-operation/kidney/

Financing Living Donation

The transplant recipient’s insurance will cover your medical expenses as a donor, such as the evaluation, surgery, and limited follow-up tests and medical appointments. However, the recipient’s insurance may or may not cover follow-up services for you if medical problems occur from the donation. Your own insurance may not cover these expenses either. The recipient’s insurance coverage usually does not include transportation, lodging, long distance phone calls, childcare, or lost wages. A living donor cannot be paid for the donation because it is illegal under the National Organ Transplant Act of 1984. However, living donors may receive reimbursement for certain expenses related to the donation process. You should talk about any financial concerns with the transplant center social worker or financial coordinator. They may have resources available for you.

Learn more about options here: https://transplantliving.org/living-donation/financing-living-donation/

Links to Other Educational Resources

For information on how to become a donor, please call our transplant coordinator at (602) 406-8452