Ask the Doctor
Questions about kidney disease? Risk factors? Signs and symptoms? Are you concerned about yourself, a friend or family member? Ask Dr. Spry.
General Information on Living Donation
Where Do I Start?
The Evaluation Process
Making the Decision
Financial and Insurance Issues
What to Expect After Donation
For Transplant Candidates
4. Making the Decision
Living donation is a big decision, so you should make sure you're comfortable with your choice. Consider all the information in this booklet carefully, as well as information from your transplant center. Talk to your family members and friends. Some donors also find it helpful to consult with co-workers, a psychologist, social worker, or spiritual advisor.
You can also connect with other living donors through the National Kidney Foundation. If you'd like to talk with other donors about their experience, please visit our Sharing & Support section. Your transplant center may also be able to refer you to other donors.
Your transplant center will have a social worker who can help you with the process. The social worker is there to assist you, and will keep your discussions confidential.
Potential donors should consider the following questions:
Potential donors will need to consider their overall health, any medical problems such as high blood pressure or diabetes, level of activity, the effects of donation on children or other family members, financial considerations, time lost from work, travel expenses, and the donor's distance from the transplant center.
The decision to become a living donor must be made voluntarily and free from pressure. Individuals have the right to decide that kidney donation is not for them. Likewise, some individuals with kidney failure may decide they do not want a transplant or choose not to consider a living donor. The decision of the potential donor and recipient must be respected. Living donors may change their minds at any time during the evaluation process without fear of embarrassment or repercussions:
There may be instances… in which the potential donor seeks the support of the transplant team to decline donation. For example, if the potential donor anticipates being ostracized from the family by saying "no" to the recipient, the transplant team could assist the potential donor in developing an appropriate medical disclaimer, enabling the potential donor to decline gracefully…
-- The Authors for the Live Organ Donor Consensus Group, "Consensus Statement on the Live Organ Donor", JAMA, December 13, 2000- Vol 284, No. 22 (Reprinted)
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