The procedure is minimally invasive, using laparoscopic surgery, with very small incisions. Hospitalization is two to four days, with recovery taking several weeks. Research indicates that kidney donation does not change the donor’s life expectancy or likelihood of developing kidney problems. Also, being a donor does not affect a person’s ability to have a child.
There’s a shortage of kidneys from deceased donors; many patients die or go on dialysis while waiting for these kidneys. In New England the average wait time for a kidney from a deceased donor is 5 years. These types of kidneys only last half as long as those from a living donor, often less than 10 years.
A Paired Kidney Exchange (PKE or a “kidney swap”) is an exciting option for kidney donors and recipients who are not compatible. A PKE allows a living donor and his or her incompatible recipient to be paired with another incompatible donor and recipient so that both recipients can receive a transplant.
Tax incentives are available in some states to cover some of the costs of living donation. Extended paid sick leave is also available to some government employees (federal, state and municipal) who donate an organ. To learn more about tax incentives and sick leave, click here.
“David needs a kidney and the planet needs David. His career and civic work has focused on leaving this orb in good shape. Now David needs a kidney to replace his original ones, so ravaged by PKD. I wish the transplant doctors could lower the donor’s age limit so I could give David one of mine. Please consider becoming a living donor or help spread the word.”
Charley Shakespeare, David’s uncle