Live donors save the lives of thousands of people each year who need livers, kidneys and other organs, but don’t have a match when it comes to cadaver donors. Because the demand is so high, many people don’t have a choice unless they can find a live donor. If someone you love is in need of a body part, you can be tested to determine if you are a match. If so, you have a serious decision to make: Should you be a live donor? This isn’t something to be taken lightly, even if you know you have to do it to save someone’s life.
In most cases, the first people to be approached about being a live donor are the immediate family members of the patient. This is partly because of legal problems, but also because relatives are more likely to have an organ that the patient’s body will accept.
The percentage of successful organ transplants have increased over the last few decades, but there are still instances in which the body rejects an organ. However, in cases where family members are not an option, friends and non-blood-related family members are also considered.
In order to be a live donor, you’ll have to undergo a battery of tests to determine your health status for transplantation. For example, if you are hoping to donate a liver to someone in need, alcoholism or diseases like HIV and hepatitis can make you ineligible for donation.
Other factors might include your blood pressure, your mental health, your age and a host of other diseases and disorders. Blood work as well as an examination of your medical history will probably be required. During this process, make sure to ask any questions you might have to help you make this decision.
It is commonly thought that you have to share the blood type of the person for whom you are donating an organ, but this isn’t always the case. Live donors must simply have a compatible blood type, which will be determined during a routine blood test. If everything is progressing as normal beyond that, you’ll also need to have a psychological evaluation, an antibody screening and an EKG. Particularly in the case of donating a kidney, you will probably also be required to give a urine sample.
These tests and procedures can seem invasive, which is something you’ll want to consider before going through with it. Find out who will be footing the bill for your tests and whether or not your insurance will cover the operation. In some cases, the recipient will pay the fees required to prepare you for surgery, but you’ll have to iron out those details individually.
Another thing you should take into consideration when deciding if you should be a live donor is the time necessary to recuperate. You’ll have to put your job and family on hold while you recover from the operation, which could take several weeks. There is also a possibility of complications, so find out the risks before you agree. Knowing beforehand will make surgery much easier and you’ll be able to feel relaxed about being a live donor.