There are two types of kidney donors: living kidney donors and deceased kidney donors.
A living kidney donor is a kidney that is donated from a living family member, friend, acquaintance or in some rare cases from someone the kidney recipient has never met. In previous years when kidney anti-rejection drugs were in their infancy, the donated kidney had to be nearly a perfect match or else it may have been rejected by the recipient’s body. Today with the tremendous transplant advancements and the creation of better anti-rejection drugs, the incidence of live kidney reject is small. (I did ask about the donor and the recipient functioning with one kidney and was told that one kidney provides all required functions and somehow becomes strengthened.)
A deceased kidney donor is a kidney that is recovered from a deceased person. Many people have elected to do this in order that their organs (kidneys, livers, eyes, etc.) can help someone else after they die. I would like to learn more about this in order that I be able to encourage more and more people to do this.
From what was explained to me, the best option is a kidney from a living kidney donor. This is because the kidney is functioning when it is transferred from the donor to the recipient. Oftentimes the donor surgery can be performed laparoscopically thereby accelerating the donor’s recovery. A kidney from a deceased donor must be preserved and transferred to the transplant hospital while (at the same time) the recipient must get to the hospital for the operation.
There are two types of deceased organ donors: donors who have been evaluated as brain dead although their hearts are still pumping blood through their systems (keeping their organs alive) and, the second type are those who are being kept alive artificially (with a ventilator).
According to the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), there are 107,000 people awaiting transplants nationwide. About 18 of those awaiting transplants die each day (or 1 every 80 minutes). Given the total number of annual deaths in the US (2007) of 2,423,712…a number of these deaths resulted from being taken off of life support systems. Imagine if each had elected to donate their organs to those needing organ transplants? I feel it would only be a matter of a couple of years to have enough organ donors to completely fill the needs of everyone awaiting an organ donation.
If you would like more details on how you can become a living kidney donor, contact me. If you would like additional information about how you can become a donor when you die, please get more info here.
UNOS Interesting Facts:
~An average of 78 organ transplants take place every day in the U.S.
~A single donor can save or enhance the lives of up to 50 people.
~Living donors account for between 6,000 and 7,000 transplants each year.
~The number of unrelated living donations has more than tripled since 1998.