What's it like to donate your kidney?
January 4, 2011 7:03 PM   Subscribe

I am considering living kidney donatioN and would appreciate some input from those who have actually donated a kidney.

My 19 year old niece needs a kidney transplant so all in the family are being tested for compatibility. I will certainly offer a kidney if I'm a match but I'm wondering if mild Type II diabetes will rule me out, and what to expect from the actual surgery if I do donate regarding time off work, etc.? It won't make a difference in my decision, just wondering what to expect. I would like to hear your experiences if you've actually donated a kidney, not opinions about living with one kidney, etc.
posted by tamitang to Health & Fitness (6 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Unfortunately as far as I know, any diabetes is considered an absolute contraindication to donating a kidney.
posted by drpynchon at 7:14 PM on January 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

Unfortunately, drpynchon is right. You should still talk to you own doctor about this, just to make sure, but diabetes will probably take you out of the running.

In terms of what to expect from donation (in case other people find this question, or in case you want to hand these resources off to a family member who is a match and able to donate) there is a lot of info online about this. Here are some great sites to get you started:

Q&A on Living Donation from the National Kidney Foundation
Living Donors Online Questions
Living Donor FAQ from the University of Maryland

To answer your specific questions, recovery time varies, but is usually fairly fast. The recovery time is really only for recovering from the surgery itself, as having only one kidney shouldn't cause any problems for your kidney function.

Some people apply for short-term disability after donating an organ. Your employer would be someone to talk to if you want to apply for short-term disability, if that is an option.

You may want to consider making a financial donation to the National Kidney Foundation or the National Kidney Registry in your niece's name, if you can, especially since you most likely cannot donate.
posted by k8lin at 7:23 PM on January 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

I'm sorry that your niece is ill. I know someone who is currently going through the process of being approved for a kidney transplant because of Type II diabetes. I doubt they will allow you to donate considering that your own kidneys are at risk.
posted by Mouse Army at 7:24 PM on January 4, 2011

Even though your diabetes may rule you out, I have a friend who donated a kidney last year. I'm sure she'd be happy to speak to you about it (she was very open with all her friends about the entire process, which was quite fascinating). MeMail me if you are interested and I'll see about getting you in touch with each other.
posted by Fuego at 8:25 PM on January 4, 2011

A friend of mine donated hers and it resulted in long term, extreme chronic pain that the doctors seemed baffled by and unable to fix. I haven't heard her mention it in the last year though (I do recall her being agonized for a couple of years) so I hope it has abated but I don't know.
posted by fingersandtoes at 9:47 PM on January 4, 2011

I asked a question about anonymous kidney donation a while back that may contain some helpful tidbits.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 6:06 AM on January 5, 2011

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