Becoming a kidney donor is a tough but wonderful decision. It will help the recipient to lead a long, healthy life, free from being dependent on dialysis. There may be a number of questions that a prospective donor may have before the surgery. Here are some answers. 

Q1 Am I too old to donate a kidney? 

Research indicates that one is never too old to donate a kidney. If you intend to donate a kidney you must be over 18 years of age and healthy enough to handle surgery. In fact, donors over the age of 70 can also safely donate one of their kidneys. The doctor will perform a few medical tests to determine the health of the donor before performing the surgery.    

Q2 What conditions could prevent me from donating a kidney?

The medical history of the potential donor is taken into consideration before the kidney donation surgery is performed. Conditions that could disqualify you as a donor include – 

  • Diabetes    
  • Hypertension
  • Cancer
  • Kidney Diseases
  • Hepatitis
  • Obesity
  • Smoking    

The above-mentioned diseases have the potential to cause kidney damage. This makes the donor unfit to undergo the surgery and to donate a kidney to a recipient.

Q3 Do I have to be a perfect match to donate a kidney?   

One of the greatest myths about kidney donation is that the donor needs to be a perfect match. The chances of success are greatly improved when the donor has a blood type that is compatible with or perfectly matches the recipient. Some of the best kidney transplant hospitals in India, however, do not insist on a perfect match.             

Q4 Is it better to get a kidney from a recently deceased person

Kidney donations can be accepted from both living donor or from recently deceased persons (depending on their health prior to death). Kidneys received from living donors, however, are a better option as they start working quickly. In case a living donor is not available, doctors prefer to accept donations from recently deceased people rather than delay the surgery.     

Q5 Is it better to get a kidney from a known person than an unknown donor?

Kidney donations can be directed (from a known donor to an intended recipient) or non-directed (from an unknown donor to an unknown recipient). There is no difference between the two except for the fact that in the former we know the habits and complete medical history of the donor. 

Q6 Can I stay healthy on one kidney?   

Most donors can live long and healthy lives on a single kidney. It may, however, be possible that the donor may develop hypertension in later life. The doctor may advice both the donor and recipient to get regular health checks and to maintain a healthy lifestyle.  The donor needs to be aware that if he or she develops a kidney disease later in life there is no spare kidney to help.      

Q7 How long will it take for me to recover from a kidney donation surgery?

These days, the kidney donation procedure is very advanced and precise. A donor may need to stay in the hospital from 3 to 7 days and can recover completely by about 4-5 weeks. A recipient may require a hospital stay of about 10-12 days including the first few days after surgery in ICU. The recipient will take from 8-10 weeks to completely recover.

Q8 Will the donated kidney be accepted by body immediately?

The body has a tendency to attack any foreign body. A donated kidney may be viewed as a foreign entity and the body may start producing antibodies against it. The doctor will be prescribing anti-rejection medicines to the recipient for a very long time. These could leave the recipient susceptible to infections. It is important for the recipient to eat healthy foods, stay away from infections, and exercise regularly. 

Q9 Can I participate in sports with one kidney?

Both the donor and the recipient need to lead healthy lives and protect their remaining kidneys. Strenuous sports that may cause injury to the kidney must be avoided.