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How can I donate a kidney to someone who I know is in need?

Donation of a kidney is the most commonly performed type of living organ donation. Often, a family member or friend may offer to donate a kidney to a patient in need. There is little risk to the donor, because the remaining kidney enlarges to absorb the workload that both kidneys previously shared.
At NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, potential kidney donors must undergo extensive testing and interviews to determine eligibility to donate. The Independent Donor Advocate Team is dedicated to the health and well-being of potential live donors. This team, which consists of a nephrologist (kidney specialist), surgeon, transplant coordinator, social worker, and psychiatrist, serves as advocate solely for donors and acts completely independently of the needs of recipients. Anyone considering kidney donation will work with the Independent Donor Advocate Team to learn about the procedure, and to arrive at the decision that is best for himself or herself.

Within the United States, living donations of a kidney can be made to a family member, friend, or anyone on the waiting list. Living donations are arranged through one of several transplant centers throughout the U.S. Before being considered as a donor, the individual must undergo a complete physical, as well as a psychosocial evaluation at the transplant center where the donation will be made.

This answer is based on source information from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

First of all, educate yourself. You can start by contacting your medical center’s transplant center and speaking with a donor coordinator to learn all you can about the evaluation and donation process. In addition, speak with a former donor. It is important for you to learn if this is something you can really do – both logistically and medically.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.