Organ Donation is a difficult life experience but a very special one. Knowing that you have saved someone’s life is a feeling of elation like no other and it stays with you. This site is about kidney donation. If you are considering donating a kidney to a family member or friend or to someone you do not know, you will find information here to help you. This website discusses the entire experience to help you make an informed decision. That includes some of the practical and emotional issues in donating.
If you have already offered but are still in the testing or waiting stages, I hope this site will be helpful in giving you an idea of what to expect. Who is on the transplant team? What does testing involve? Is recovery painful? What is it like to get back to work or normal activities? For these see the pages on the right hand column. Many living donors have felt that they lacked practical information from the point of view of their concerns and experience as donors. This site is an attempt to bring balance and is based on my own donation of a kidney to a friend. LiveDonors.Com does not dispense medical advice.
Donation involves testing, testing and more testing. Get used to the blood pressure readings because it is the most frequent test while urine samples run a close second. However the advantage of the constant readings and testing is reassurance that you are healthy enough to donate. Not every website has the entire testing process online and there may be some differences but for a description of an evaluation process for living donors please click here. If you want to what it is like to experience the testing see my donation story section on testing.
Is It Painful?
A major concern of any potential donor is pain. When does it stop? How intense will it be? Does it recur and what kind of medicine can be taken for it.
Donors who have undergone keyhole or laparoscopic surgery will tell you that there is little to no pain as a result of this procedure. And it is absolutely true that normally you should be up and about very quickly. Keyhole surgery does involve pumping lots of gas into you, so you will have to “deflate” after the surgery. The pain involved in the aftermath of this kind of surgery is gas pain and lot of it. It can take several days for the gas to escape. A nurse recounted that a previous patient told her he wished he could take a pin and prick himself and deflate like a balloon. After a few hours I knew what he meant. I chose laparoscopic surgery in part due to the pain factor but donors should investigate for themselves which may be suitable. For a description of the types of kidney surgery, specialist sites such as the National Kidney Foundation are the best sources of information.