Living Donor Kidney Transplantation
When You Need a Kidney Transplant
When you are facing serious kidney disease or kidney failure and transplantation is an option, you probably have many questions. The staff of Baylor Scott & White Health is ready to walk with you through the journey and help you make the best decisions for you and your family.
Benefits of Living Kidney Donation
The fastest way to receive a kidney transplant is a living donor kidney transplant. This may make it possible for you to stop dialysis sooner or even to avoid starting dialysis. In addition to receiving a kidney transplant more quickly, a living donor kidney transplant has other benefits:
- A kidney from living donor is the best quality kidney.
- It begins to function more quickly after transplant.
- It lasts twice as long as kidneys from deceased donors.
- Living donors can be family members, a spouse, friends or co-workers.
- The transplant surgery can be scheduled at a time that is convenient for both you and your donor.
The vast majority of kidney donor surgeries are performed laparoscopically, in which three small incisions are made to remove the kidney. Most donors are able to leave the hospital in two to three days and generally return to work in three to six weeks.
Why consider a living kidney donor transplant?
A kidney donation from a living donor has several advantages for you versus a deceased donation:
Better Long-Term Outcomes. Living donor kidneys often last longer in the recipient’s body than deceased donor kidneys. A living kidney is usually a better match and in better condition than a deceased donor kidney.
Shorter Wait-Time. You usually receive the transplanted kidney faster than you would a compatible deceased donor organ. The donor and recipient evaluation can be done at the same time to expedite the transplant process.
Scheduled Surgery. A living donation is a pre-planned surgery, not a sudden procedure; allowing you to be better prepared both mentally and physically.
Quicker Kidney Function. Living kidney donations begin working in the recipient’s body sooner than an organ that has been kept on ice and transported to the hospital. A living donor kidney usually begins working immediately, whereas a deceased donor kidney may take several days or weeks to function properly.
Lower Rejection Rate. Living donor kidneys offer a lower rejection rate than one from a deceased donor.
How do I approach the conversation about needing a kidney transplant with friends and family?
You may have been facing your illness for a long time and your friends and family already know about your condition. As you discuss this next step in your journey, you can let them know that one option is a living kidney transplant from a compatible person. It is important to let individuals who may be considering being tested for donation to fully consider all the obligations the donation carries and discuss it with their own family members. Baylor Scott & White Health staff members are available to discuss any questions you, your potential donor or family members may have.
To assist you with this process, we have developed a
sample letter that you may give to your potential donors that gently explains your needs and how they may help. The letter reinforces that this is truly their individualized decision and does not compromise your relationship regardless of their response.
We suggest that all patients think about living donor transplantation. Ask potential donors to accompany to your kidney transplant orientation. Potential donors may also call us and complete a health screening questionnaire by phone – 817.922.2990 (Fort Worth), 214.820.GIFT (214.820.4438) (Dallas), and 254.724.8912 (Temple).