Questions About Living Donation?

With the recent kidney chains in the news, Gift of Hope Organ & Tissue Donor Network has received many questions about how to become a living donor.

What is a living donor?

A living donor has given part of an organ (liver, lung or pancreas) or one kidney from his/her own living body for transplantation, usually to a family member. A living donor’s remaining kidney will do the work of two kidneys. Since kidneys are matched genetically, donation from a family member may be more successful than from an unrelated donor.

How can I become a living donor?

While OPOs coordinate donation after the donor’s death, living donations are coordinated by transplant centers with these types of programs. To learn more, talk to a transplant center that offers a living donor program in your area.

The National Kidney Foundation of Illinois has resources pertaining to kidney donation on their website, along with a list of transplant centers in Illinois.

For first-hand experience to living donation, check out Amanda’s Donor Diary.

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6 Responses to Questions About Living Donation?

  1. Tim Joos says:

    I just got home from my kidney donation at Loyola. I started a chain Tuesday morning that has already gone from Chicago to Philly to LA to Maryland. All donors and receipients are doing well. 😉

  2. […] donate a kidney to help a close friend. If you have questions about living donation, check out our previous post on the subject. Thank you for sharing your story, […]

  3. nickurig says:


    Sooo good to hear that everyone is doing well!

    I wanted to share an interesting first-hand perspective from a living donor.


  4. It is disappointing but not surprising that the only link to a living donor’s story is the typical happily ever after perspective.

    Here’s the reality:

    According to OPTN’s own data, 4.4 living donors die within 12 months of the procedure (2000-2009).

    From January 1, 2008 through March 31, 2009, 46 living donors were rehospitalized within 6 weeks due to complications; another 152 were rehospitalized by six-months and an additional 69 were readmitted before the one-year mark.

    Countless others experience depression, anger, anxiety, and PTSD symptoms, yet not a single transplant center offers aftercare or support.

    Worse, transplant centers balk at tracking their living donors. Out of 7481 living donors over the course of 15 months, 3060 were “lost to follow-up” within 12 months.

    FYI: OPTN requires transplant centers to sumbit follow-up forms for 24 months, yet haven’t done anything to enforce their own policy.

  5. Kortni says:

    I am going to be having a living donor liver transplant from my sister and I can’t wait!

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