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Criteria to be a Kidney Donor: What You Need to Know

Updated on February 9, 2016

Kidney Donor Requirements: What You Need to Know

There are a lot of reasons why people choose to donate their kidneys. The most common among these reasons is the emotional bond or the relationship of the donor to the patient. Parents, siblings and family members often offer donation when someone in the family is in dire need of a new organ to live.

This, however, doesn’t mean that you can’t donate just because you don’t know any person who needs a transplant. In fact, as much as 17,000 people are waiting for the right donor in a single year. You could be that person.
What makes a good candidate for organ donation?
To be eligible for donation, your organs should be healthy and with no indication of any existing renal issues. There also shouldn’t be any risk factors that could predispose the organs to future problems. Obesity, diabetes and hypertension are some of the medical conditions you’ll be screened for if you’re aiming to donate.

The Criteria for Kidney Donation for Living Donors

● You must be 18 years old and above.
● You must have an adequate support system for recovery.
● You must have good psychosocial health with no indication of any psychiatric illnesses.
● Your Body Mass Index must be 35 and below unless you’re very muscular and lean.
● You must undergo random drug tests.
● You must be tobacco-free for at least 2 months prior to donating.
● There shouldn’t be any history of the following medical concerns:

  1. Lung diseases
  2. Active Hepatitis B or C
  3. HIV
  4. History of blood clotting issues
  5. Heart valve and peripheral blood vessel diseases
  6. Existing or history of cancer

● You should not be taking any nephrotoxic medications.


How Safe is Organ Donation?

There are two factors that help determine whether organ donation is safe for you or not.

● For one, because the donation involves surgery, your health should be thoroughly assessed. This helps the surgical and medical team to know if you can undergo the procedure with little to no complications.

● The second criterion deals with your ability to live with only one kidney. Generally, once you’ve recovered from the surgery, your life resumes to how it was before donation. The procedure, on its own, will not predispose you to certain health issues but it’s not guaranteed that you’ll never be sick in the future.

What are the long-term risks of organ donation?

If you have been thoroughly assessed before undergoing surgery, then there’s very little risk for complications. As a matter of fact, after the procedure, you are expected to have the same general health status most people possess. However, to make sure your health and your kidney stay in their best state, it’s recommended that you submit yourself to routine checkups and assessments.

Chuck Machado speaks about signs of kidney failure


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