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Thread: Thinking about donating an organ. Any advice or experience?

  1. #1

    Default Thinking about donating an organ. Any advice or experience?


    For the past couple months now, I've been seriously contemplating an anonymous kidney donation. Thousands of people die each year waiting for one. The recovery period is only three to six weeks, and you can function as normal with only one kidney. It enlarges slightly, but nothing else changes. Life expectancy is the same. Plus, the procedure is completely free! Everything is paid for by the donation center. As it stands:

    * I'm healthy
    * I'm young
    * I eat astoundingly healthy
    * I exercise daily
    * I have a valuable blood type

    If you're wondering why, I'm considering this for personal and religious reasons. A local student educated me on the matter, and I felt compelled to explore it further.

    Does anyone have any advice, personal experience, or thoughts to contribute? I really want to do this! I have an iron will, so bravery isn't going to be an issue.

    Thanks everyone!

  2. #2


    You're such a good person!
    I never thought to randomy give away my organs, all I've thought about is how I want someone to take my heart if it is usable when I die. Other things too of course...

  3. #3



    And this is coming from someone who has taken need of donated items... in this case blood and bone. I wouldnt wish that type of pain on anyone, i wouldn't want to see you risk your self either now, or in the future if that "last" kidney you have goes bad through some kind of accident. I am not religious but i think that everyone placed in the world is their own santuary and unless their donation is to somebody tangable they know and feel they truely wish to make that sacrifice... then yes...

    But to donate to the abyss in an effort to bring hope. I truely believe that surgery that i have gone through horrifies me so greatly i could never ask/wish/or promote that to anyone.

    From a personal standpoint... i would never and therefore i would say never. I am all for puting that your an organ doner or what not on your personal ID(in the sence of if you croak-brain dead then they can have it) or what not but... dont donate pieces of your self while you have your future ahead of you...

    Thats just me.



  4. #4


    You are a far braver soul than I.

    As an engineer, I would be very hesitant to reduce the level of redundancy our bodies come designed with.

  5. #5

  6. #6


    Quote Originally Posted by bobbyjeff View Post
    You are a far braver soul than I.

    As an engineer, I would be very hesitant to reduce the level of redundancy our bodies come designed with.
    This is essentially my standpoint. My license says I am an organ donor, and I always will be, but they're staying inside me until I croak, unless a close family member would happen to need an organ donated.

  7. #7

    Default I have donated a kidney to a stranger and hope this helps

    Forgive me for butting in on this thread, especially as I am not a regular member. But I donated a kidney to a stranger earlier this year, and this forum post came up in a search I was doing on donation. I felt compelled to respond.

    Donating a kidney to anyone whether a stranger or someone you know is the greatest gift you could possible give to anyone ... their life back. At a young age I am not sure how your local transplant centre would view that. They may feel you need to wait a few years. But that would be up to the individual transplant centre.

    If you wish to read up on a very comprehensive account on what it is like to be a donor, warts and all, then please visit my blog which gives step by step, date by date, account of the whole process. links are on the left or scroll to bottom of page for the first appointment.

    I know countries can do things differently, but basically the process is the same.

    As for living with one kidney just as well as two, that is not totally true, although basically it is!! You will have to be careful doing contact sports (rugby for example) and wear a special protective belt, if you damage the remaining kidney which can be easily done in contact sports, then you will possibly be on dialysis. Same if you are in a car accident and kidney gets damage. Both unlikely to happen, but they have happened. You will also need to keep off NSAID's such as ibuprofen and asprin as they can affect the blood flow to the kidney. You will need to make sure you drink sufficient amount of water. The kidney will enlarge slightly but it will never function as well as two kidneys. Generally one kidney functions more than the other. With me one was 42% and the other was 58%. They left me with the better kidney. Our kidneys do have a "reserve" i.e. they do not have to work 100% to function perfectly. With one kidney you have reduced that reserve considerably. Having said that, as long as you live a healthy lifestyle with what you eat and excersise regularly the chances of getting kidney disease (say from diabetes) is unlikely, but could happen. Complications following the kidney donation can occur for sometime after "recover". Here in the UK we are monitored closely and have annual check ups for as long as we want them.

    Recovery can be up to 12 weeks, not 6 weeks. Keyhole (laparascopic) surgery cannot be guaranteed. My surgeon told me that once they open me up for keyhole if they find the vessel system is more complicated than the scans showed, they will convert to open surgery. That will require about 12 weeks of recovery.

    Life expectancy. To be honest I don't think enough research has been done on donors to really be sure of this. Having said that, I certainly have not come across anything to make me believe that life expectancy would be any less. In fact it could be more than some people as we have to be in excellent health to donate.

    There are also complications that can happen during the operation though you are very closely monitored. Also complication after surgery. If you go to my blog and click on the Forum link you will read about a couple of complications, and also some of the comments on the blog (various posts/pages) highlight other complications. One of which is when left kidney is removed in males, the left testicle can swell and cause pain immediately afterwards (briefs opposed to boxers are advised after surgery) and the pain in the left testicle can last several days. This is because one of the vessels from the left kidney leads to the left testicle. Someone else commenting on my blog, I believe under the Recovery post, had very bad nerve pain in the abdomen. If you read Michaels blog, link to it on the top navigation, he had double pneumonia within two hours of surgery. However that was exceptionally unusual and they believe due to an underlying illness he had many years ago.

    I am not saying this to put you off, but to be realistic about the donation. You really do have to be committed to wanting to do this and to be aware that things can go wrong and do. If having read my blog you still wish to go ahead you can contact me via the contact page on my blog and I can communicate with you directly to advise and give support.

    I would say your next stage even before you make a decision would be to contact your local Transplant Centre and just find out if they would consider you, mainly because of your age. They may feel you need to wait until you are a bit older, I don't know.

    I hope this has been of some help to you. I think it wonderful you are considering doing this. Another way to really help is to put your name down for bone marrow donation and something that only men can do (at least in the UK only men can) and that is to donate blood platelets.

    Anyone who has already signed the donor register, just as important is to tell you next of kin and friends. So many organs are lost because next of kin refuse to allow the organs to be used as it comes as too much of a shock to them. So please let them know how strongly you feel about donating.

    Again apologise for butting in on this thread, but felt I could not let it pass without offering first hand advice from a donor.

    Thank you for reading


  8. #8


    Thank you, LivingDonor, for the informed and unbiased information you provided on this subject. The resources you provided and the clarity of the information are a big part of what makes this forum successful.

  9. #9


    Awesome post, LivingDonor.

    And, Falkio, I would personally wait until I was older. 19 is Awfully young to start donating organs without a cause or anything (then, I had a life-threatening kidney infection when I was 20, so I may be speaking from the fear of seeing that in any form again. I wouldn't wish that on anyone!)
    Aside from that, I REALLY admire you on this, and that is a very noble and loving gesture. Really, really think it through and weigh all the pros and cons before jumping in!

    Also remember there's lots of other ways to donate other things of slightly less extremes. A healthy person can donate blood up to 4 times a year (and plasma slightly more? I think? I can't remember). Also, Locks of Love.

  10. #10


    Wow! I am completely overwhelmed by this! I carry a donor card as I wish all people would; and to tell relatives your intentions. To give an organ whilst alive and not to a relative leaves me in awe. John 15v13 immediately springs to mind. The intention is honourable and admirable pro bono publico. Think long and hard young man. Pray long and hard and let your heart rule very closely followed by your head. Would you please keep the forum informed? You are in my prayers. God Bless.

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