Ten Reasons Why Recipients Should Want a Living Kidney Donor

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(608) 263-1384


As of May 2013, there are almost 1,900 individuals on the waiting list for a kidney transplant in the state of Wisconsin and more than 100,000 in the nation, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS).


Why should recipients want a living kidney donor?

  1. It's better: You will experience better health and live longer. If you receive a living donor kidney transplant, you will enjoy proper kidney function for an average of 12-20 years, much longer than if you receive a deceased donor kidney. This greatly reduces your need for another transplant.
  2. Improved results: You will have a higher success rate. The five year success rate for people who received a kidney from a living donor is about 10 percent higher than those who receive their kidney from a deceased donor. As time goes on, these differences get greater.
  3. Rest easy: Living donor outcomes are strong. The living donor evaluation and workup is very thorough. We work to make sure that the donor proceeds with donation only if they want to, are medically cleared and feel prepared. Our mission is to make sure everyone is comfortable with the decision, and is ready for the donation process.
  4. There's no delay: You will enjoy better kidney function from the start. Kidneys from living donors typically produce urine right in the operating room, much sooner than most kidneys from deceased donors.
  5. Lose the wait: You will not have to wait for a deceased donor. On average, 10.2 people die on the kidney wait list each day in the U.S. Although wait times for a deceased donor transplant at the UW Transplant program are shorter than regional and national averages, you still have to wait for a deceased donor match via the national waitlist procedure. Having a living donor transplant removes the reality of that wait.
  6. Skip dialysis: You may be able to avoid the entire dialysis experience. Patients who receive a transplant earlier in their disease course are healthier and have better long-term outcomes.
  7. Find your best match: We will work with you to test potential donors. Because more is known about the donated kidney, most recipients of a living donor transplant are able to secure a stronger genetic match, which increases the long term success of the organ.
  8. It's all about you: You can schedule the surgery at your convenience. Unlike deceased donor transplants, your living donor surgery and transplant is scheduled at a time that suits you and your donor. Plus, research shows that recipients of live donor kidneys return to work sooner than those who received a deceased donor kidney.
  9. It's worth a try: If you find a living donor, you will shorten the wait for everyone. We know that not all patients have a willing donor and not all willing donors are medically able to donate but remember, every patient who receives a living donor transplant has an impact on the national waitlist because they remove themselves from the list. This shortens the wait for others, too.
  10. So many options: If you and your donor don't match, we can help. Our program can help donors and recipients who have different blood types; and we're members of a national kidney exchange program that allows for kidney exchanges involving other transplant centers.