Kidney Donation living Requirements and Qualifications

Table of Contents

Get Free Treatment Assistance!​

Fill out this form and our health expert will get back to you.

Table of Contents

A brief summary of the article:

Kidney donation is a generous act that can save someone’s life. However, not everyone can be a kidney donor. There are certain requirements and qualifications that potential donors need to meet before they can donate a kidney.

Age Limits and Health Requirements

One of the basic Kidney Donation living Requirements and Qualifications is to be at least 18 years old. This is to ensure that the donor can give informed consent and understand the risks and benefits of the donation. There is no upper age limit for kidney donation as long as the donor is healthy and has normal kidney function

Another requirement is to be in good physical and mental health. This means that the donor should not have any severe medical conditions that could affect their kidney function or increase their risk of complications during or after the surgery. Some health conditions that may prevent someone from donating a kidney include. 

  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Cancer
  • HIV
  • Hepatitis
  • Kidney disease
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Substance abuse
  • Psychiatric disorders

Additional Screening and Testing

Besides meeting the age and health requirements, potential donors must undergo a comprehensive evaluation process at a transplant center. This process involves several tests and exams to check the donor’s kidney function, blood type, tissue type, antibody level, and compatibility with the recipient. Some of the tests and exams that may be done include. 

  • Blood and urine tests
  • Heart and lung tests
  • Blood pressure check
  • Ultrasound or other imaging of the kidneys
  • Colonoscopy, mammogram, Pap smear, or prostate exam (depending on age and gender)
  • Dental exam
  • Antibody test
  • Crossmatch test

The evaluation process also includes a psychosocial assessment, where the donor meets with a social worker, a psychologist, or a psychiatrist. The purpose of this assessment is to make sure that the donor is mentally and emotionally ready to donate a kidney and that they have a support system to help them after the surgery. The donor will also meet with a transplant surgeon, a transplant coordinator, a transplant nurse, and a transplant dietitian to discuss the surgery, the recovery, and the follow-up care. 

The evaluation process may take several weeks or months, depending on the availability of the tests and the results. The donor can be evaluated at multiple transplant centers to increase their chances of finding a compatible recipient. The donor can also withdraw from the process if they change their mind or have concerns.

The Kidney Donation Process

Once the donor is approved to donate a kidney, they will be scheduled for surgery. The surgery is usually done as soon as possible after finding a compatible recipient, but sometimes there may be a waiting period. The donor and recipient will be admitted to the same hospital but have separate surgical teams and operating rooms.

Initial Screening and Application

The first step in kidney donation is to contact a transplant center and express interest in becoming a donor. The transplant center will provide information about the donation process and the requirements. The donor must fill out an application form and provide basic information, such as their name, age, contact details, medical history, and relationship to the recipient (if any).

The transplant center will review the application and determine if the donor meets the initial criteria for donation. If the donor is eligible, they will be invited to the transplant center for further screening and testing.

Compatibility Testing and Final Evaluation

The second step in kidney donation is to undergo compatibility testing and final evaluation. This is the most important and comprehensive part of the process, as it determines if the donor and the recipient are a good match for the transplant.

checking the donor and recipient’s blood and tissue types

Compatibility testing involves checking the donor and recipient’s blood and tissue types. Blood type is the most essential factor that determines compatibility. Four main blood types exist: A, B, AB, and O. The donor and recipient should have the same or compatible blood type. For example, a person with blood type O can donate to anyone, but someone with blood type AB can only receive from someone with the same blood type

Tissue type is a more complex factor that determines compatibility. Tissue type refers to the human leukocyte antigens (HLA), proteins on the cell’s surface that help the immune system recognize foreign substances.

 The donor and the recipient should have as many HLA matches as possible, as this reduces the risk of rejection. The ideal match is a six-antigen match, meaning the donor and the recipient share the same six HLA antigens. However, this is very rare, especially among unrelated donors. A four-antigen or a two-antigen match may also be acceptable, depending on the availability of donors and the urgency of the transplant

Antibody testing

Antibody testing is another part of compatibility testing. Antibodies are proteins in the blood that fight against foreign substances, such as bacteria, viruses, or transplanted organs. The donor and the recipient should have low levels of antibodies against each other, as this reduces the risk of rejection. The crossmatch test is a final test that measures the reaction of the recipient’s antibodies against the donor’s cells. A negative crossmatch means no reaction and the transplant can proceed. A positive crossmatch means a reaction and the transplant cannot proceed

final evaluation

The final evaluation is the last step before the surgery. It involves a thorough physical examination, a review of the test results, and a discussion of the risks and benefits of the donation. The donor will also sign a consent form and receive instructions on preparing for the surgery.

 The Surgery and Recovery Process

The third step in kidney donation is surgery and recovery. The surgery is usually done using a minimally invasive technique called laparoscopic nephrectomy, which involves making small incisions in the abdomen and using a camera and instruments to remove the kidney. The surgery takes about two to four hours and requires general anesthesia. The donor will have a small scar on the abdomen and a drain tube to remove excess fluid. 

The donor will stay in the hospital for one to three days after the surgery. The donor will receive pain medication, antibiotics, and fluids through an intravenous (IV) line. The donor will also be encouraged to walk, breathe deeply, and do exercises to prevent blood clots and pneumonia. The donor will be monitored for any signs of complications, such as bleeding, infection, or kidney problems

The donor can resume normal activities within two to six weeks after the surgery, depending on their recovery and type of work. The donor must avoid heavy lifting, strenuous exercise, and contact sports for at least six weeks. The donor will also need to follow a healthy diet, drink plenty of fluids, and avoid smoking and alcohol. The donor will have regular follow-up visits with the transplant team to check their kidney function, blood pressure, and overall health. 

Risks and Long-Term Effects of Kidney Donation

Kidney donation is a safe and effective procedure to save someone’s life. However, donors should know some risks and long-term effects like any major surgery.

Short-Term Surgical Risks

The most common short-term risks of kidney donation are related to the surgery itself. These include. 

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Injury to nearby organs
  • Reaction to anesthesia
  • Blood clots
  • Pneumonia
  • Hernia
  • Nerve damage

These risks are rare and usually treatable. The transplant team will take precautions to prevent and manage any complications that may arise.

Potential Long-Term Health Effects

The most common long-term health effects of kidney donation are related to the loss of one kidney. These include: 

  • High blood pressure
  • Proteinuria (protein in the urine)
  • Reduced kidney function
  • Kidney failure

These effects are also rare and usually manageable. The transplant team will monitor the donor’s kidney function and blood pressure regularly and prescribe medications if needed. The donor must also maintain a healthy lifestyle, such as eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, and avoiding smoking and alcohol.

Some studies suggest that kidney donation may slightly increase the risk of certain conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer. However, these studies are limited and inconclusive. More research is needed to determine the long-term effects of kidney donation on these conditions. 

Emotional and Psychological Considerations

Kidney donation can also affect the donor emotionally and psychologically. Here are some things that might be included:

  • Satisfaction and pride
  • Anxiety and stress
  • Depression and grief
  • Guilt and regret
  • Anger and resentment
  • Relationship issues

Depending on the donor’s personality, motivation, expectations, and support system, these effects may vary. The transplant team will counsel and support the donor before and after the donation. The donor will also benefit from talking to other donors, joining support groups, and seeking professional help.

The Benefits and Impact of Being a Kidney Donor

Kidney donation is a life-saving procedure for the recipient and a rewarding and meaningful experience for the donor. There are many benefits and impacts of being a kidney donor, such as

Saving a Life Through Organ Donation

  • One of the biggest upsides of kidney donation is that you get to save someone’s life. Kidney failure is a nasty business that impacts millions of folks globally. It can be lethal without a transplant or dialysis. By donating one of your two kidneys, you give someone with kidney failure a second shot at life. It’s an incredible gift.

Personal Fulfillment and Reward

  • Being a kidney donor can be extremely fulfilling at a personal level. Knowing you helped save someone from serious illness or death can make you feel good. Many donors say it’s one of the most satisfying things they’ve ever done. The recipient’s gratitude and improved health are very rewarding too.

Societal Attitudes Towards Organ Donation

  • When you donate an organ, it helps raise awareness and shifts attitudes about organ donation across society. Folks hear your story and might register as donors themselves. Experts call it a “domino effect” where one good deed inspires others. So beyond directly saving someone, you could inspire many more donations and transplants.

The following websites have contributed to the development of this article:

Rate this post
Picture of Doctor Mehdi Ahmadi
Doctor Mehdi Ahmadi
Body and Facial plastic surgeon Providing all beauty services of body, skin, facial cosmetic surgery, etc., specialized with more than 10 years of experience and 1,000 successful cosmetic surgeries.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments