Donating a Kidney FAQs
Whether you are considering donating a kidney to a loved one or to a fortunate stranger, you may have questions about whether you meet the requirements, how the living kidney donation process works and donation risks.
Here, our thoughtful living donor specialists answer common questions about the living kidney donor experience at Memorial Transplant Institute.
About Our Care Facility
What is Memorial Transplant Institute?
Memorial Transplant Institute was established in 2017 and comprises both heart and kidney transplant programs for children and adults. Memorial Transplant Institute is the only center in Broward County — and one of only two programs in South Florida — to offer kidney transplants to both children and adults.
The institute also includes a robust living donor kidney program. This program offers potential living donors medical expertise and educational support at every point in the living kidney donation process.
Where is Memorial Transplant Institute located?
Memorial Transplant Institute is based at Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood, Florida. Our living kidney donor office is located at 1150 N. 35th Avenue, Suite 390.
Kidney Donor Requirements
Who can donate a kidney?
Almost any adult in good health can donate a kidney. In many cases, you can donate a kidney to someone of a different race, sex or blood type, thanks to recent advances in donor matching.
At Memorial Transplant Institute, our thorough donor evaluation process makes sure a donor is in sufficient physical and mental shape to safely undergo donor surgery.
Can you donate a kidney if you are overweight?
Body mass index is one factor that our care team assesses during the donor evaluation process. Our specialists will determine whether a donor's weight may affect the safety of the surgery or recovery.
Do some people have trouble deciding to become a living organ donor?
Yes. Although some people easily make this decision, many go through a bit of soul-searching before deciding. It's normal to be afraid of giving away part of your body and to feel guilty about not wanting to be a donor.
Will donating a kidney prevent you from becoming pregnant?
Although studies have shown that kidney donation does not affect the completion of a safe pregnancy and childbirth, it is typically recommended to wait to become pregnant at least six months after surgery. Be sure to talk with your physician or gynecologist about your interest in donation and the effect it could have on future pregnancies.
Kidney Donation Surgery and Recovery
What happens when you donate a kidney?
Memorial Transplant Institute's team specializes in performing a minimally invasive approach called laparoscopic surgery. During this procedure, our surgeons use advanced robotic technology to make tiny incisions in the abdominal area.
Does donating a kidney involve risks?
Every surgery involves both risks and benefits. The short-term risk of living donation involves risks associated with anesthesia and major surgery. Possible long-term risks of kidney donation may include high blood pressure, reduced kidney function, hernia, organ impairment or failure that may lead to the need for dialysis, transplantation or even death.
At Memorial Transplant Institute, all donors go through a comprehensive evaluation process to assess all aspects of a person's health before moving forward. In addition, our living donor team will discuss the unique risks and benefits that living kidney donation may entail for each donor's specific circumstances.
What are the positive aspects of living kidney donation?
The gift of an organ can save the life of a transplant candidate. The experience of providing this special gift to a person in need can serve as a very positive aspect of the donation. Some donors have reported positive emotional experiences, including feeling good about trying to improve the recipient's health and quality of life, allowing them to return to normal activities.
What does life after donating a kidney look like?
For many people, life after donating a kidney is similar to their life before kidney donation. You may feel back to normal a week or two after kidney donor surgery. Other people may take longer to get back to their regular activities.
Living donors need to pay extra attention to their health to avoid complications such as hypertension or diabetes. Our care team follows donors closely for the first two years after donation. We encourage regular physicals and will work with a donor's primary physician to monitor kidney function during this time.
What are the costs related to living donation?
Most medical costs associated with living donation are covered by the recipient's insurance. The government requires all certified transplant centers to charge a recipient's insurance an "acquisition fee" when he or she receives a transplant.
This fee covers the medical costs related to the donor's medical evaluation, transplant procedure and postoperative care (called the "donor protocol"). Anything that falls outside of this protocol is not covered. These costs could include annual physicals, travel, lodging, lost wages and other nonmedical expenses.
If you're interested in learning more about kidney donation, find out how to donate a kidney.
We're always just a phone call away. To make an appointment or learn more about our robust living kidney donor program, call 954-265-7450.