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Risks of Being a Donor

As with any major surgery, becoming a living organ donor has its risks with it, but these can usually be effectively managed. We have identified some risks for an organ donor for you to view. If you are considering becoming an organ donor, please seek professional medical advice as well.

In British Columbia, where our mom is seeking to conduct a transplant, a potential donor needs to conduct a series of medical exams (blood tests, medical record check, etc.) and will also be told the potential risks of becoming a live donor by medical professionals.

Below are some risks that the Canadian Kidney Foundation has listed as some risks for a living organ donor:

• Short term risks: pneumonia, infection, pain and discomfort, allergic reaction to anesthesia, collapsed lung or blood clots

• Slight increased risk of high blood pressure

• Slight increased incidence of kidney failure

• Possibility of injuring the remaining kidney

• Slight risk of developing a disease of the remaining kidney

• Some people also experience psychological difficulties, although most donors are satisfied with their decision to donate a kidney

Furthermore, post-surgery recovery times vary. The usual amount of days spent in a hospital is 4 to 6 days. After leaving the hospital, donors typically tenderness, itching and some pain as the incision continues to heal. Generally, heavy lifting is not recommended for about six weeks post-surgery. It is also recommended that donors avoid contact sports where the remaining kidney could be injured. It is important for the donor to speak with the transplant staff about the best ways to return as quickly as possible to being physically fit.

According to the US National Kidney Foundation, a living donation does not change life expectancy and does not appear to increase the risk of kidney failure. In general, most people with a single normal kidney have few or no problems; however, you should always talk to your transplant team about the risks involved in donation.

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