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The following provides general information about living donation. For additional information about the evaluation process, the surgery, risks and making the decision, please visit www.livingdonors.org, NKF’s Living Donors Web site.
Living donation takes place when a living person donates an organ (or part of an organ) for transplantation to another person. The living donor can be a family member, such as a parent, child, brother or sister (living related donation).
Living donation can also come from someone who is emotionally related to the recipient, such as a good friend, spouse or an in-law (living unrelated donation).
In some cases, living donation may even be from a stranger, which is called nondirected donation.
The organ most commonly given by a living donor is the kidney. People usually have two kidneys, and one is all that is needed to live a normal life. Parts of other organs including the lung, liver and pancreas are now being transplanted from living donors.
Transplants performed from living donors have several advantages compared to transplants performed from nonliving donors (individuals who have been declared brain dead and their families have made the decision to donate their organs):
Although transplantation is highly successful, and success rates continue to improve, problems may occur. Sometimes, the kidney is lost to rejection, surgical complications or the original disease that caused the recipient’s kidneys to fail. Talk to the transplant center staff about their success rates and the national success rates.
You can find some statistics on the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) Web site. UNOS compiles statistics on every transplant center in the U.S. Go to http://optn.transplant.hrsa.gov/data/ to view all UNOS data. You can find statistics on the number of nonliving and living donor transplants performed at that particular center as well as the graft survival rates for the transplant recipient, the center and additional information about donation and transplantation.
The best source of information on expected donor outcomes is from your transplant team. See the list of “Elements of Disclosure” at http://www.kidney.org/transplantation/livingdonors/pdf/jama_article.pdf (page 3) for a list of issues to discuss with our transplant team. You can also check http://www.transplantliving.org/living-donation/ for additional information about donation and transplantation.
If you would like more information, please contact us.
©2014 National Kidney Foundation. All rights reserved. This material does not constitute medical advice. It is intended for informational purposes only. Please consult a physician for specific treatment recommendations.