What is a Living Kidney Donation?

In a living-donor kidney transplant, one of the donor's healthy kidneys is surgically removed and placed into a recipient whose kidneys no longer function properly.

Who can be a Living Kidney Donor?

To donate a kidney, you must be in good physical and mental health. As a general rule, you should be 18 years or older. You must also have normal kidney function. There are some medical conditions that could prevent you from being a living donor. These include having uncontrolled high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, HIV, hepatitis, or acute infections. Having a serious mental health condition that requires treatment may also prevent you from being a donor.

Who pays for the donor's evaluation and surgery?

The evaluation and hospitalization costs for living donation are covered by the recipient’s insurance. Your insurance will not be billed directly. During your evaluation, only tests ordered by the transplant team for the purposes of determining your suitability for donation will be covered. If tests are performed for the purposes of routine medical care, treatment or are not ordered by the transplant team, you or your insurance company will be billed.

Does donating a kidney shorten your life?

Donating a kidney does not affect a person’s life expectancy. On the contrary, studies show that people who donate a kidney outlive the average population. Twenty years after donating, 85 percent of kidney donors were still alive, while the expected survival rate was 66 percent. This may be because only healthy people are approved to become donors, or perhaps donors take additional health precautions after donating a kidney.

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