SW Transplant Centre - Changing lives through medical care

SW Transplant

About living donations

Provided your kidneys are healthy and functioning normally, it is perfectly feasible for one of them to be removed and transplanted into someone else’s body. You may be interested in this section if you have a relative, a spouse or a dear friend who you love and to whom you would like to donate one of your kidneys. You will know from first hand experience what life has been like for them having to cope with the misery of kidney failure, having to go for dialysis several times a week, not being able to go on holiday and so on.

There are two major advantages for your loved one to receive a new kidney from a living donor such as yourself:

  • He or she will not have to wait for years on UK Transplant’s database.
  • No time will be lost in transplanting the kidney from you to your loved one as you will be together in the same hospital, in the same theatre department. It will go straight from your body into theirs whereas a kidney from a donor who has just died may have to be packaged in preservative and transported many miles from the donor’s hospital.

How should I broach the subject with my loved one?

There is no best time. You will know when the opportunity arrives. If possible, draw the family into the discussion and be prepared to allow others to offer their kidneys as well. The living donor coordinator from South West Transplant Centre can talk to you I more detail about donation from a living donor. A psychologist is at hand for more in depth conversation if needed.

What happens next?

Assuming that you and perhaps others in your family are prepared to be a living donor for your loved one, the first thing will be for you to visit the South West Transplant Assessment Clinic where one of the team will give you a full explanation of what it involves and answer any of your questions. It is as well to write down on a piece of paper all the questions you want answers to and make sure you understand what the doctor or nurse says. Don’t be afraid to ask again if you are not sure.

You will have to give a sample of your blood for analysis and for a special test called tissue typing. It is fundamental to the success of a kidney transplant that your tissue type matches as closely as possible the tissue type of your loved one. The closer the match, the less likely it is that your loved one’s body will reject your kidney. If the match is not good, your offer to donate one of your kidneys would have to be withdrawn. If several members of your loved one’s family and friends are willing to be considered for donation, the one chosen will be the one with the tissue type that has the best match.

You will have a series of tests. Occasionally a number of medical conditions will be uncovered during this process. These may preclude you becoming a donor and may require further treatment as necessary.

Jane's Story

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