How long for kidney donation?
October 22, 2005 8:41 AM   Subscribe

How long does the process of kidney donation take?

I've done extensive research and found out the duration of surgery and recovery, but what I'm referring to is the length of time between when you first agree to be tested as a donor and when surgery can generally take place. I realize there are multiple testing procedures, and this will all vary by doctor, but just a general timeline from anyone experienced in these matters would be appreciated. I'm trying to estimate, if all goes as planned, whether I could accomplish the entire donation process within a certain amount of time (e.g. before Thanksgiving in the U.S.).
posted by justonegirl to Health & Fitness (4 answers total)
Bearing in mind that most of my knowledge comes from dead donors - it shouldn't take too long. They have to get your blood type (of course), and something else called your HLA type, as well as screen for bloodborne diseases. All of these tests can be done fairly rapidly. They'll set an OR time, get the surgeons on board and, I think you'll be set. Time is of the essence in any organ donation situation, and they've got these things well-streamlined. The donation process should be able to take place by Thanksgiving, but bear in mind that donor recovery time is pretty long - in the months, possibly. Your recipient goes home in a week and feels fine, but you've just had major surgery and your body is adapting to only having one kidney!

Depending on your county in MD, Transplant Resource Center of Maryland or Washington Regional Transplant Constorium are your area OPO - they'll be thrilled to hear from you, and can answer any questions you have.
posted by kalimac at 9:13 AM on October 22, 2005

Ooops - I just reread your post, you know how long the surgery and recovery take. Sorry! Hope the links help at least :)
posted by kalimac at 9:14 AM on October 22, 2005

It can take as long or short as you want nearly- it took us about 8 months, but there were vacations and so on in the middle between tests. Once we decided to really go for it, it took about 2 months total to get from testing to surgery. I think it could have been quicker but because of one thing and another we ended up doing it at the Mayo in Rochester, MN, which is on the other side of the country from us. (At the time- 3 years ago) no one else would PROMISE a laproscopic surgery for the donor.

Because the donor had the laproscopic surgery, the recovery time was about 6 weeks before full-time employment was an option. Part time, though, was within 3. Total complete and utter recovery (can't tell you ever had surgery) took a year. Email if you want more details, but like I said, this was 3 years ago and my info might be outdated.
posted by small_ruminant at 10:41 AM on October 22, 2005

Recently, a friend donated a kidney to another friend. The testing and approval process took many months - at least 6, and they weren't 100% sure it would even happen until they were on the operating tables.
I think this was in part because the participants are not related. It might go faster if you are related.
Recovery for the donor was quick. Complete recovery might take a while, but she walked out of the hospital after 36 hours, and was at church a week later, looking great.
posted by clh at 8:59 PM on October 22, 2005

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