Over the past few weeks, we've had a number of people ask us about the organ donation process, specifically the process of donating a kidney. There has been some hesitation in going from asking to finding out if there's a match to donating.
It's an unknown and scary process, something we are very aware of. So, we thought a list of frequently asked questions and responses would help alleviate some of the initial concerns and fears.
Can I just see if I’m a match now and choose whether I want to be a donor later?
Yes! Contact Marian Charlton at Weill Cornell (our transplant coordinator) and let her know you are interested in determining if you are a match for William Anderson. The process is 100% confidential, so no one other than you and the coordinator know that you have contacted her.
The first steps in determining if you are a match do not involve any travel. They include filling out a questionnaire and determining your blood type (if you do not already know it).
At no point are you obligated to become a donor, and at no point are we made aware that you contacted Marian unless you choose to share it with us.
- Marian Charlton
How much will it cost me if I choose to be a donor?
Your medical costs will be covered by our medical insurance. We can provide the documentation to verify that it will be covered.
Additionally, we have set up a GoFundMe campaign to help cover any additional donor-related costs (travel for you and your family and your family’s lodging and food).
How long am I in the hospital?
One to two days. The process of donating a kidney is very different from the process of receiving one. Using laparoscopy, donors have less pain, shorter hospital stays, a more rapid return to normal activities and a smaller, less noticeable scar. Laparoscopic kidney removal is less invasive and allows the donor to be discharged 1-2 days after surgery, allowing the donor to return to work in one to four weeks depending on the donor's occupation.
Will I have a normal life after?
Donating a kidney will not cause any limitations in your normal daily activities. After the recovery from your surgery, you will be able to resume all of your normal activities, including exercising and participating in sports.
Donating a kidney will not affect your ability to become pregnant, carry a child to term, or father a child.
Donating a kidney has not caused an increase in other health problems for donors. Organ donors continue to be carefully studied by many research groups in the United States.
Don’t I need both kidneys?
Unlike the case with most other organs, we are born with an overabundant—or overengineered--kidney capacity. Indeed, a single kidney with only 75 percent of its functional capacity can sustain life very well.
Where can I find more information about becoming a donor?
There is a wealth of information about organ donation and transplantation. Our research has been mostly focused on our local provider (Weill Cornell) and national outlets (National Kidney Registry, National Kidney Foundation). The links below can be used to research your questions further, or you can contact our transplant coordinator.
Finally, don't hesitate to contact us if we can answer any specific questions: