Without intervening with the simplicity this subject of discussion demands; we will try to break the question of whether kidney donation is safe into numerous questions and will try to potentially cover all possible queries related to it.
Who is eligible to donate a kidney?
Healthy, willing, and of appropriate age are the basic characteristics that a kidney donor must have. In sophisticated terms, a donor must be medically and psychosocially sound.
How to apply to become a kidney donor?
The first thing a person must do is to clearly think about reasons for which they are donating the kidney and secondly they should get enough educated about the subject so as to quantify the pros to cons ratio of donating a kidney, specifically for their own situation of life.
One can fill an online application form which will be reviewed by a donor coordinator and then the donor is contacted for extra information. Kidney donation can also be applied for, by going to the hospital and filling the donor form on paper. After filling the donor form, screening is done by the expert to confirm the eligibility of the donor. Then the donor is evaluated for compatibility. In each step of the evaluation, the risk factors of the donor are the main things to be evaluated.
What is better between a live donor and a deceased donor transplant for the recipient?
- A kidney from a deceased donor has a 50% chance that it won’t function initially which makes the postoperative course more complicated. With a live donor, the kidney will work properly from the initial stages about 90% percent of the time.
- The risk of rejection is less in live donor transplants.
- Long-term results are better in live donor transplants.
What are the risks of kidney donation?
During the operation:-
If the evaluation results come out as okay, it’s generally safe to donate a kidney but that doesn’t make the process risk-free. The reason is that in the worst-case scenario anyone can die from any operation and donating a kidney is not an exception but if an analogy is to be made, the chances of dying from donating a kidney are roughly equivalent to the risk of dying in a car accident over a 6 months period in India. No one thinks twice about getting into a car every day but that’s about what the risk of donating a kidney is.
Long term risks
The long term risk for a well-evaluated kidney donor is so small that insurance companies won’t raise their life insurance premiums or health insurance premiums and why that tells us a lot about risk is because it is a known fact that an insurance company won’t cut anyone a break in paying premiums if they have a valid excuse to raise the premiums. Also, there are now even studies that show living kidney donors actually live longer than the general population, and it’s not that taking out a kidney makes a person live longer but it’s just that only the healthiest people are selected from evaluation to donate their kidneys. What this shows that they remain healthy even after they donate their kidneys. This study was shown by a nephrologist in Sweden who, after conducting this study, donated a kidney to her husband and both she and her husband are doing well even after 20 years of transplant.
For more information contact Kidney Specialist Dr. Ravi Bhadania (Nephrologist) at Alfa Kidney Care.