Years ago, people who wanted to donate a kidney to a perfect stranger were politely turned away. As technology and expertise progress, these altruistic or “Good Samaritan” donors are now accepted as living kidney donors after full evaluation.
Who can donate?
Living donors must meet the following criteria:
- Healthy adults at least 18 years old
- Normal renal function with two kidneys
- Free of active infections
- Free of malignancies (history is evaluated individually)
- No history of diabetes or blood sugar problems
- Hypertension (high blood pressure) must be considered on an individual bases.
- No active/untreated substance abuse
- Not severely overweight (<35 BMI)
- Excellent physical and mental health
What are the risks?
Kidney donation has minimal risks. While all surgeries involve some risks such as bleeding and infection, living with only one kidney poses little danger. Research indicates that kidney donation does not change one’s life expectancy or increase the risk of developing kidney disease or other health problems.
The recipient’s insurance or Medicare pays for all donor medical expenses. Time away from work and travel costs are not covered by insurance and should be considered.
What happens after donation?
After surgery, IU Health Transplant continues to see donor patients for follow-up through recovery. Kidney donation does not require medication or a special diet afterwards. Our living donor clinic allows for long term follow up care by transplant nephrologists (kidney specialists).
How do I start?
Contact our living donor coordinators at 317.944.4370 for more information about being a living kidney donor at IU Health.