HOME / Living Kidney, Blood/Bone Marrow Donations

One blood donation can save as many as three lives. Healthy adults can donate blood every 56 days. Most organ transplants would not occur without adequate blood supplies.

Each year, approximately 30,000 patients in the U.S. will be diagnosed with life-threatening diseases which are treatable by a bone marrow transplant. Just one in three will find a donor match within their family.

Becoming a Living
Kidney Donor


Step 1: Review all the material about living kidney donation found at this website.

Step 2: Contact Intermountain Donor Services (IDS) by email or phone (1-800-833-6667) to express interest in kidney donation.

Step 3: Complete and return a medical/social history form. Once the form has been returned to IDS, you will be asked to meet with a donation coordinator to discuss the process of donation in more detail.

Step 4: After making the decision to donate a kidney, you will be referred to one of the area's transplant centers, Intermountain Medical Center or University of Utah Hospital, for a thorough evaluation.

Step 5: Medical and psychological evaluations will be completed, and you will be matched with a recipient. Your donor surgery and the transplant will be scheduled at a time appropriate to both you and the recipient.

Kidney Donations

• Good Samaritan Living Kidney Donation

Good Samaritan donors are living donors who do not know the recipient, but make their donation purely out of selfless motives. This type of donation is also referred to as anonymous or non-directed donation. Recipients are those at the top of the local wait list.

• Paired Kidney Donation

A paired donation consists of two donors who are incompatible with their intended recipients. The two recipients swap donors so that each can receive a compatible kidney. Once the evaluations of all donors and recipients are completed, the two donations and transplants are scheduled simultaneously. Click here for a youtube video with an example of Paired Kidney exchange and an explanation of how it works.

• Kidney List donation

Kidney list donation can result when a live donor is incompatible with the intended recipient, and so donates to the wait list. In return, the intended recipient receives priority and advances on the wait list, receiving a kidney much more quickly; often the next available appropriate kidney.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know if I can be a living donor?
Can I live with one kidney?
What are the risks?
How long will the surgery take?
Time and resources
Who pays for the donor's medical evaluation, surgery, hospitalization and follow-up care?
Why living donation?

How do I know if I can be a living donor?

Any healthy individual who has two kidneys and who is between the ages of 18 and 65 can potentially donate one kidney. In order to determine eligibility, a person must undergo a health evaluation and counseling. A medical history, physical examination, and a number of blood and urine tests are performed to determine health. Blood type, which must be compatible with that of the recipient, is also determined. Counseling is provided to ensure that every person considering kidney donation understands the surgery, the risks involved, and the recovery period.

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Can I live with one kidney?

Almost everyone is born with two kidneys. After donating a kidney, a person can live a normal, long and healthy life. The remaining kidney grows bigger and simply takes over for both kidneys.  However, every living donor should be aware that if something happens to the one remaining kidney, such as a severe traumatic injury or cancer, then kidney function could be compromised.

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What are the risks?

No surgery is without risk. However, living kidney donation is very safe for healthy individuals. Nearly fifty years of research show that kidney donors have a normal life expectancy and lead normal lives. Extensive testing is done to ensure that kidney donation carries a minimal risk for potential donors. Some of the possible risks associated with any surgery are:

Bleeding
Infection
Pneumonia
Blood clotting
Reactions to anesthesia

All potential donors will have the opportunity to discuss these risks with the surgical team performing the operation.

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How long will the surgery take?

Typically, the preparation and the surgery itself take four to six hours. Although every donor is different, recovery should be uneventful.  There may be pain lasting from a few days to several weeks as the muscles around the incision heal. Pain medications are prescribed and taken as necessary. The discomfort gradually decreases as the incision heals and physical activity is resumed.

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Time and resources

It is common to take two to six weeks off from work to recover from surgery. Intermountain Donor Services (IDS) and the transplant programs provide no compensation for this time lost. Potential donors should contact their employers to see if paid leave would be provided for this absence.

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Who pays for the donor's medical evaluation, surgery, hospitalization and follow-up care?

Medicare or the recipient's insurance pays for all medical costs for the donor's medical evaluation, surgery, hospitalization, anesthesia, doctor's fees, and follow-up care. However, all other costs, such as transportation and time lost from work, are not typically reimbursed.

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Why living donation?

The success rate is better and the waiting time is shorter when someone receives a kidney from a living donor rather than from a deceased donor. However, due to medical, personal or matching issues, sometimes it is not possible for family or friends to donate. Living Kidney donation increases the number of kidneys available to those waiting for transplants. With enough Living Kidney donors, the waiting list for kidney transplants could be completely eliminated.

For more information on kidney donation, please contact us at
livingdonations@yesutah.org.

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