The number of living donor kidney transplants has increased annually and now exceeds 42% of kidney transplants done in the US. Today, living donors do not have to be related, so spouses, friends and other emotionally related individuals can give the gift of life. Kidneys from live donors have a long-term survival that is roughly two to three times longer than the long-term survival of a deceased-donor transplant. The St. Joseph Hospital Kidney Transplant Center will diligently evaluate all appropriate options for living donation.
Who Can Be A Living Donor
Living donors are healthy blood-related or emotionally related individuals who are in most cases blood-type compatible with the recipient. Many transplant candidates may have willing living donors and not know even know it. In general, the donor should meet the following criteria:
- Must have good health and good kidney function
- Be personally motivated to donate a kidney
- Be blood-type compatible, which includes:
- Being the same blood type as the intended recipient
- Being blood type O (universal donor)
- Blood sub type A2, which can be transplanted into blood type A and many O or B recipients
- In appropriate cases blood type incompatible transplant may be an option
If a donor meets the above criteria, he or she will undergo a thorough evaluation process, which includes a medical history, physical examination, and various tests to ensure they can safely donate a kidney.
To schedule an initial donor evaluation, please call (714) 771-8033, or
download a living donor application form.
Minimally Invasive Surgery (Donor Nephrectomy)
The operation to remove a kidney from a living donor has undergone many improvements over the past several years, so there is less hospital time and a faster recovery. At the St. Joseph Hospital Kidney Transplant Center, surgeons perform a minimally invasive open nephrectomy, which involves the removal of the kidney through an incision that is less than half the size of a traditional incision. We believe this is a very safe way to remove the kidney, with excellent control over the large blood vessels that provide the kidney with circulation. This type of nephrectomy results in faster recovery and less hospital time than the standard nephrectomy.
Costs Associated With Living Kidney Donation
The medical costs associated with being a living donor are generally covered by the recipient's insurance. However, insurance coverage does vary. The medical expenses most often covered include diagnostic tests, surgery, the hospital stay and any follow-up with the kidney specialist.
Payment for kidney donation is illegal. However, support related to expenses incurred due to donation may be appropriate. The St. Joseph Hospital Kidney Transplant Center cannot accept donors who have been promised payment for donation, or who have been solicited by any means including advertising or donor/recipient matching services.