Advantages of living kidney donation for the donor
- Receiving an extensive medical workup that may help identify unknown medical problems
- Receiving a boost in self-esteem after donating
- Experiencing an increased sense of well-being
- Developing an improved relationship with the donor. In one study, 75% of donors said that their relationship with the recipient improved after the transplant.
Advantages of kidney transplantation (versus dialysis) for the recipient2
Compared to people who stay on dialysis, people who receive a kidney transplant have:
- Better quality of life
- More free time (taking pills in the morning versus spending 12 or more hours at dialysis per week)
- More stable blood pressure and electrolyte levels (salts in the blood that must stay within a normal range) than on dialysis
- Higher rates of employment among adults who receive kidney transplant than those who stay on dialysis (likely due to feeling better and having a more normal schedule)
Kidney transplantation also saves the health system money compared to dialysis. In the first year after a kidney transplant, the costs are about the same as if the recipient were still on dialysis. However, later years are actually cheaper, because the medications needed after a kidney transplant costs less than dialysis.
Advantages of living donor kidney transplantation for the recipient
There are multiple reasons why having a living donor kidney transplant is beneficial to a recipient. These may include:
- On average, kidneys from living donors last longer, meaning that the recipient can stay off dialysis for a longer time if they have a living donor kidney transplant versus a deceased donor kidney transplant.
- Five years after receiving a kidney transplant, 86% of living donor kidney transplant recipients have a working kidney, versus 74% of deceased donor kidney transplant recipients.1
- A living donor kidney transplant can occur before a recipient ever goes on dialysis. This is called a ‘preemptive transplant’.
- Since a living donor kidney transplant is a planned surgery, the recipient knows when it is going to occur and can make arrangements to be away from home and/or work while they recover from surgery.
In summary, kidney transplants help people feel better, be healthier, and live more normal lives. Living kidney donations can help transplants happen faster and last longer.
Benefits of Living Kidney Donation
1. Hart A, Smith JM, Skeans MA, et al. Kidney. American Journal of Transplantation. 2016;16(S2):11-46.
2. Laupacis A, Keown P, Pus N, et al. A study of the quality of life and cost-utility of renal transplantation. Kidney International. 1996;50(1):235-242.
3. Johnson EM AJ, Jacobs C, Suh G, Humar A, Suhr B, Kerr SR, Matas AJ. Long-Term Follow-Up of Living Kidney Donors: Quality of Life After Donation. Transplantation. 1999;65(5):717-721.
4. Jacobs CL, Gross CR, Messersmith EE, et al. Emotional and Financial Experiences of Kidney Donors over the Past 50 Years: The RELIVE Study. Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology. 2015;10(12):2221-2231.