Myths and facts about living kidney donation
There are a lot of myths about living kidney donation. Here’s some information for potential donors and recipients which sets out the facts from the myths.
No: Nowadays anyone can donate.
It is very common for partners or friends to donate. Even if you are not a match there are a number of options to explore including the UK Living Kidney Sharing Scheme.
The earlier you can get a transplant the better – preferably before starting dialysis or at least minimising the time on dialysis.
If there is an opportunity to discuss potential living kidney donation with friends and family it would be good to explore this option as early as possible.
The surgical procedure to remove a kidney is through keyhole surgery and the majority of donors are only in hospital for three to four days.
It is expected that they will be fully recovered after around 8 weeks. Donors will attend a yearly appointment afterwards to check their kidney function.
No: The risk of a donor developing end stage renal failure and needing dialysis treatment is very low.
No: The donor and recipient can enter the UK Living Kidney Sharing Scheme.
This makes it possible for the donor to be matched with other donor/recipient pairs with the same blood group and the donor kidney ‘exchanged’ or ‘swapped’.
All major religions support living donation.
No: Some older donors may require extra tests depending on their past medical history, but there is not an upper age limit.
No: The living donor team will liaise with the donor’s nearest centre for testing.
No: The donor is given the opportunity at every stage to withdraw if they change their mind.
No: This is illegal in the UK. However reasonable loss of earnings and legitimate travel and accommodation expenses can be reimbursed on request.
See the Money Matters guide.
No: In most cases the recipients’ own kidneys are left in place and the new kidney is transplanted above the groin.
No: A transplant is a treatment, not a cure. However kidney transplants from living donors are very successful, with over 80% of transplants still functioning after 10 years.