It is very important for patients to keep an open mind about living donor kidney transplantation.
It is very important for patients to keep an open mind about living donor kidney transplantation. Living donor kidney transplantation is the preferred treatment option for most patients because it offers the best chance for a high quality kidney in the shortest possible waiting time.
Some patients have family members or friends who offer to donate a kidney, even when they have not been asked - they just want to help. Some patients may not have had others volunteer to donate a kidney. But that doesn't necessarily mean that they do not want to - they just might not know how they can help.
We advise all of our kidney transplant patients to talk to family members, friends, co-workers, and others about their need for kidney transplantation, and the benefits of getting a kidney from a living donor. We know that it can be very difficult to ask someone to consider donating a kidney. Our transplant psychologist can help you think through this difficult process and provide you with a strategy for talking to others about donation.
There are lots of reasons why you might be hesitant to ask others about kidney donation. Some concerns and questions that patients have include:
- Why should I rely on others to help me with my illness when I have managed things independently all of my life?
- I don't want to burden others. Wouldn't donation affect family life, work, or leisure activities?
- What if donating a kidney causes health problems?
- What if those who volunteered to donate a kidney weren't really serious?
- What if the donated kidney doesn't work?
- How will my relationship with the donor change after surgery?
- How could I possibly thank someone enough for donating a kidney to me?
These are important questions and they deserve careful consideration. We will work with you to be sure that you have a complete and accurate understanding of how living donors are evaluated and selected. This might ease some of your concern. Research shows that almost all donors are happy they decided to donate and say they would make the same decision over again. Many people say that donating a kidney to someone they love is an important highlight in their life.
Here to Help
Our behavioral health team can help you and your loved ones explore feelings about living donation. Our expertise in this area is especially helpful in supporting minority patients who need organ transplants and would benefit greatly from living donors. Please call us with any questions or concerns.