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SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University

Division of Transplantation

Information For Donors

Questions and Answers

Q - How do I know if I'm eligible to donate a kidney? 

A - If you are in good health and wish to donate a kidney to a loved one. you will be seen and evaluated by the transplant team on an individual basis. You will be tested to ensure that donation will not be harmful to you. You will always participate in the decision regarding your suitability for donation.

Q - How are donor and recipients "matched"?

A - Donors and recipients are matched primarily by blood type and "tissue typing". If blood and tissue typing are compatible, a test called a "crossmatch" is done. The crossmatch allows for a " mixing" of blood samples between the donor and recipient to identify compatibility. If the crossmatch is compatible, the transplant is likely to be successful.

Q - Must the donor and recipient be the same blood type?

A - The donor and recipient must have compatible blood types with living donation.

Q - Will both donor and recipient work with the same Transplant Team?

A -We have two teams of inter-related professionals who work with potential donors and recipients. The teams will work with the donor and recipient independently of one another. In order to maintain confidentiality, information is not shared between coordinators.

Q - Who is on the Transplant Team?

A - We have an interdisciplinary, collaborative team of donor and recipient surgeons, nephrologists, social workers, transplant nurses, physician assistants, financial coordinator, lab and support staff. Each will work with you to ensure you receive the best care while maintaining complete confidentiality.

Q - What is an Independent Living Donor Advocate?

A - The Independent Living Donor Advocate is a professional who works solely with the living donor, independent of the transplant team. The Independent Living Donor Advocate will meet with you during the transplant process to ensure that your needs are being met.

Q - How long does the surgery take?

A - The surgery takes approximately 3 to 4 hours.

Q - What type of scar will I have?

A - Donor surgeries are done laparascopically, resulting in less pain, faster recovery time and minimal scarring. You will have a bikini line incision in addition to several small scars where the instruments are inserted to allow the laparoscopic procedure.

Q - Will I need to take medications after kidney donation?

A - Other than medications to relieve post-operative pain, you will not need to take medications of any kind following kidney donation.

Q - Will my lifestyle change after the donation?

A - You will not have any lifestyle changes after kidney donation. Most donors are discharged two days after surgery and resume full activity within four to six weeks.

Q - How much will the surgery cost?

A - The entire cost of the surgery, hospital stay and post-surgical follow up is paid by the recipient's insurance. There is no cost to the donor.