There are more than 120,000 patients who are on the transplant waiting list today, of which almost 100,000 are waiting for a kidney donation to keep them alive and live a productive life. Many of these patients have to wait for years prior to getting that call for the transplant and many die waiting for one.
In order to ease this shortage, a viable option is living donor transplantation. This involves removing a kidney from a healthy donor that can then be transplanted into a recipient.
Here are some facts regarding living kidney donation.
- 5,627 living donor kidney transplants were performed in 2016, of which 1,385 were from non-biological unrelated donors (24.6 %)
- Living donors are required to be in good overall health and be older than 18 years.
- There are three types of living donor transplants- directed donation, non-directed donation and paired donation.
- In directed donation, which is the mot common, the donor names a specific person that will receive his kidney. The donor could be a biological relative such as a parent , sibling or child, biologically unrelated such as a spouse, a friend or co-worker or even someone who has heard about the recipient’s need for a transplant.
- In non-directed donation, no specific recipient is named and the match is arranged based on medical compatibility.
- Paired donation, which involves two pairs of living kidney donors and transplant candidates who do not have matching blood types.
- Blood type incompatible donation is carried out between a donor and a recipient whose blood types do not match with each other. In normal circumstances, this would lead to rejection of the organ, but to decrease that risk, specialized treatment is given to the recipient before and after the transplant procedure.
- Positive cross match donation is carried out between a donor and a recipient who do not match because of certain proteins known as antibodies in the recipient that would hasten the rejection of the donated organ. Specialized medical treatment is given before and after the transplant procedure to prevent this from happening.
- Most donor surgeries are now performed laparoscopically, with smaller incisions that cause less pain and discomfort and results in faster recovery for the donor.
- The recipient’s insurance will cover expenses for the donor such as the evaluation, surgery and limited follow up tests and medical appointments. However, the recipient’s or the donor’s insurance may not cover expenses from follow-up services if the donor has medical problems that occur from the donation. The recipient’s insurance usually will not cover transportation, lodging, long distance phone calls, child care or lost wages. Recipient’s with Medicare may provide coverage for donors with donation-related complications.