In thinking about donating a kidney, you may have many questions. The most obvious is how you and the recipient will feel before and after surgery. But there are other areas you need to consider: your relationship with the recipient, what the rest of your family thinks about the donation, and the surgery's effect on your current home, and job responsibilities.
Your transplant coordinator can arrange a meeting with a previous donor. You may find this meeting helpful.
Questions you may have include:
Your feelings and concerns are real. You will need to take time to be honest about your feelings and to get information to answer your questions.
The recipient must show he or she is able to follow up with the medical care before the transplant occurs.
It is not possible to put your kidney back in if the recipient rejects it. The rejection process destroys the kidney and it would no longer work.
Before donating, think about how you would feel if the recipient had problems. Many transplant recipients have some problems after surgery. Most problems are minor and easily treated. Some problems are serious and may even result in kidney rejection.
Know that what happens with the recipient's recovery after surgery is not in your control.
You may be concerned about how the recipient takes care of himself or herself after surgery. You may feel like the recipient "owes" you for your donation. You may unknowingly place extra pressure on him or her to be healthy to not disappoint you.
You may find yourself feeling sad or depressed after surgery. Feelings of loss and grief after donation are usually mild and go away during recovery.
If you feel sad for two weeks or longer, lose interest in day-to-day activities, have changes in appetite and weight, have sleep problems (too much or too little), feel tired and have little energy, or feel hopeless, you may have depression. Please call your transplant coordinator or social worker for help.
Donating a kidney should not have a negative effect on your life.
After kidney donation surgery:
Allina Health Patient Education, Kidney Transplant Information for Recipients and Donors, renal_ahc_93498
Allina Patient Education experts, including the Transplantation Department of Abbott Northwestern Hospital