What are the misconceptions about kidney donation?

Here are some myths surrounding kidney donation (and donation in general):

Myth: My religion doesn’t approve of organ donation.

Reality: While there are variations in specific views, most of the world's major religions support and even encourage organ donation and transplantation.

Myth: If I check on my driver’s license that I’m an organ donor or sign up for a donor registry, they won’t try as hard to save my life.

Reality: In order for organs to be successfully transplanted, they need continuous access to oxygen. Emergency care professionals must first work to save your life, which in turn will help save your organs. If healthcare providers didn’t first save the patient, there wouldn’t be any potential for organ donation since these outcomes are medically connected. So if anything, your organ donor status is a reason to work even harder to save your life.

Myth: There must be a genetic link between a donor and recipient to ensure a successful transplant.

Reality: Thanks to improved immunosuppressant medications, a live organ can come from a family member, good friend, spouse, in-law, or even a stranger.
Myth: Kidney donors could shop around for the highest bidder.

Reality: Under federal law, it is illegal to receive money or gifts in exchange for donating an organ. The cost of a living donor’s evaluation, testing and surgery are generally paid for by the recipient’s Medicare or private health insurance. Time off from work and travel expenses are not covered by Medicare or private insurance, but living donors may be eligible for sick leave, state disability and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
Myth: Doctors care more about the organ recipient’s health than the living donor’s health.

Reality: The healthcare professionals who evaluate potential living donors are completely separate from those of the recipient. The potential donor’s healthcare team is dedicated solely to the donor and to making sure that he or she is going to live a normal, healthy life post-donation. People who wish to donate will not be allowed to do so unless their healthcare team is confident that donation won’t negatively affect their health or lives.

Continue Learning about Kidney Donation

What is an altruistic kidney donor?
Penn MedicinePenn Medicine
It is possible for a healthy individual to donate anonymously to a transplant waiting list (non-dire...
More Answers
What happens before surgery for a living kidney donation?
Methodist Specialty and Transplant HospitalMethodist Specialty and Transplant Hospital
Before surgery for a living kidney donation, the recipient and the donor go to the transplant clinic...
More Answers
How are living kidney donors evaluated?
National Kidney FoundationNational Kidney Foundation
In order to be evaluated as a kidney donor you must be healthy and without diseases that may lead to...
More Answers
Dr. Lloyd Ratner - About Kidney Donation
Dr. Lloyd Ratner - About Kidney Donation

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.