We are constantly answering questions about transplant, so I thought I would post here the answers to some of the questions we have been asked. We are finally at a place where the transplant coordinator spoke with us and answered these questions for us recently. So here it is.
The donor has to be between 18-45 years old, type O blood (It does not matter whether it is + or -), and in good health condition. They have to have a good BMI (Body Mass Index), be up-to-date on dental exams and pap smears.
They will need the following tests: an EKG, Kidney CT scan and ultrasound, chest x-rays, 24 hour urine collection, and LOTS of blood drawn.
They will have to meet with surgeons, nephrologists, social workers, and a psychiatrist (This is to determine how they feel about the surgery and make sure someone isn't being forced into it).
For the surgery itself, the donor will be in the hospital for a total of 3 days. Discharge is two days after surgery. The surgery is laproscopic (Four or five tiny incisions are made) and recovery is 3-6 weeks depending on the amount of physical activity your job requires.
Our insurance and Medicare cover all expenses except loss of wages. Living organ donors may take a tax credit up to $10,000 to cover the costs of the donation, including un-reimbursed costs of travel to and from the donation site, un-reimbursed lodging expenses paid by the donor, and lost wages. There are several other programs that donor's may qualify for, though, such as http://www.livingdonorassistance.org/default.aspx.
The coordinator said that most people's main concern is.. "What if I am diagnosed with a disease, such as cancer, and need my other kidney?" He informed us that any disease that could affect your kidneys will affect both kidneys;therefore, you would not be able to save one.