Information for Kidney & Liver Donors
The number of people added to the national kidney and liver transplant waiting lists increases each year. The number of available donors, however, remains roughly consistent. As a result, potential kidney and liver recipients must often wait to receive lifesaving care.
At the NYU Langone Transplant Institute, our doctors perform kidney and liver transplants using living donors. This allows for shorter wait times and improved health for kidney and liver recipients.
Organ Donation by Living Donor
Kidney donors provide one of their two kidneys for a transplant. The remaining kidney is fully functioning and ensures that the donor maintains his or her quality of life. Surgical techniques, including minimally invasive kidney extraction, have made it easier for family members and others to donate a kidney to a loved one in need.
Liver donors provide part of their liver to a recipient. The livers of both the donor and recipient grow back to full size approximately three months after the surgery.
There is no financial or medical benefit to donating a kidney or part of your liver, but helping another person live can be a very rewarding experience. We complete an extensive evaluation process in order to minimize the risks to the donor, ensuring safety above everything else.
Though potential donors are usually immediate family members, distant relatives and close friends can also donate.
Advantages of Living Donation
When an organ is received from a deceased donor, surgery must occur on a very quick timeline. Living donation provides the organ recipient with the ability to prepare for surgery. The surgical date can be planned around your schedule, as well as the schedule of your medical team and the recipient.
Doctors can also schedule surgery at a time when the recipient is doing well medically. Typically, the healthier the recipient is before transplant, the better the surgical outcome. The goal is to perform a transplant early in the disease process, before other organs and systems are affected. This allows for a safer procedure, speeds the recovery process, and improves surgical outcomes.
Initial Living Donor Consultation
All prospective donors complete a series of medical examinations and interviews with our staff to determine whether they are appropriate candidates for living donation. The consultation may include the following:
- blood tests
- imaging tests, such as X-rays and MRI or CT scans
- cardiac evaluation for donors older than age 50
- pulmonary testing, particularly if you smoke
- a meeting with a social worker or psychologist
- a discussion with a transplant surgeon and medical physician
- a meeting with an independent living donor advocate who ensures that your interests are represented
When your evaluation is complete, our transplant team meets with you to discuss your test results and candidacy. If the team is in agreement, the surgery is scheduled on an elective basis. Consideration is given to the donor and recipient’s schedules.
If you are interested in donating a kidney, you can complete a confidential health screening to begin the process.