As a general rule, you must be 18 years of age or older. You should also have normal kidney function. There are some medical conditions that could prevent you from being a living donor. These include having uncontrolled high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, HIV, hepatitis, or acute infections.
To be a donor, you must be at least 18 years old. The best candidates do not have any serious illnesses, are not overweight or smoke. You can be approved as long as you lose weight or agree to stop smoking before surgery. Some donors also feel more in touch with their own health and feel committed to taking good care of themselves after kidney donation surgery.
Your parents, adult children, siblings, other relatives, in-laws, and close friends may be considered for living kidney donation. Sometimes people offer themselves as a living donor without a designated recipient and donate a kidney to someone they don't know. I hadn't met anyone in my life with kidney problems, or who needed an organ transplant, but I knew that only one kidney is needed to live. This type of surgery uses smaller incisions, causes less scarring, and may mean a shorter recovery time from kidney donation.
You may be a candidate for a kidney transplant if your doctor* has diagnosed you with renal failure or end-stage kidney disease. However, transplants from living donors are more successful compared to kidneys from deceased donors because these kidneys come from living donors. Sometimes the kidney is lost due to rejection, surgical complications, or the original disease that caused the recipient's kidney to fail. Non-directed donors, or altruistic donors, are people who choose to donate a kidney to an unknown recipient.
The UNOS Q&A brochure for transplant candidates on kidney allocation delves into the kidney allocation system. The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) is the largest, most comprehensive and oldest organization dedicated to the awareness, prevention and treatment of kidney disease. A Johns Hopkins transplant surgeon led a study to monitor long-term survival among living kidney donors and found that long-term mortality was similar or lower in living kidney donors than in the general public. This is especially important in a targeted donation to make sure your kidney matches that of the person receiving it.
Due to the number of people on the kidney waiting list and the shortage of deceased donor organs, the waiting period for a deceased donor kidney can be several years.