Mine becomes yours: Kidney transplantation – chances and risks of living donations


Kidney transplantation is a life-saving procedure for individuals suffering from end-stage renal disease. While deceased donor kidneys are commonly used for transplantation, living donations have become increasingly popular. This article explores the chances and risks associated with living kidney donations.

Understanding Kidney Transplantation

Kidney transplantation is a surgical procedure that involves replacing a diseased or non-functioning kidney with a healthy one. This procedure offers a better quality of life and improved survival rates for individuals with end-stage renal disease.

Traditionally, deceased donor kidneys have been the primary source for transplantation. However, due to the shortage of available organs, living donations have gained prominence. Living kidney donations involve the voluntary donation of a healthy kidney by a living individual, usually a family member or close friend.

The Chances of Living Donations

Living kidney donations offer several advantages over deceased donor kidneys. The chances of finding a suitable match are significantly higher in living donations. This is because the donor and recipient can undergo thorough compatibility testing, including blood type, tissue matching, and cross-matching. As a result, the chances of a successful transplantation and long-term kidney function are increased.

Living donations also reduce the waiting time for a kidney transplant. In many cases, individuals on the deceased donor waiting list may have to wait for several years before a suitable organ becomes available. Living donations eliminate this waiting time, allowing for a timely transplantation and improved outcomes.

Furthermore, living donations offer the opportunity for preemptive transplantation. Preemptive transplantation refers to the transplantation of a kidney before the recipient requires dialysis. This approach has been shown to provide better long-term outcomes and improved quality of life for the recipient.

The Risks of Living Donations

While living kidney donations offer numerous benefits, they are not without risks. The most significant risk for the donor is the surgical procedure itself. Kidney donation involves a major surgery, which carries the usual risks associated with any surgical procedure, such as bleeding, infection, and adverse reactions to anesthesia.

Additionally, living kidney donors may experience long-term health consequences. Although the remaining kidney compensates for the loss of the donated kidney, there is still a small risk of developing kidney disease or other complications in the future. However, the overall risk is relatively low, and most donors do not experience any significant health issues.

Another risk associated with living donations is the emotional and psychological impact on the donor. The decision to donate a kidney is a deeply personal one and can have long-lasting effects on the donor’s mental well-being. Donors may experience feelings of guilt, anxiety, or regret, especially if the recipient’s health outcomes are not as expected.

Evaluating the Suitability of Living Donors

Before proceeding with a living kidney donation, thorough evaluation of the potential donor is essential. The evaluation process aims to ensure the donor’s physical and psychological well-being, as well as the compatibility with the recipient.

The evaluation typically includes a comprehensive medical history review, physical examination, laboratory tests, and imaging studies. The donor’s blood type, tissue compatibility, and overall health are assessed to minimize the risks associated with the donation.

Psychological evaluation is also an integral part of the assessment process. Donors undergo interviews with mental health professionals to assess their understanding of the risks and potential impact of the donation. This evaluation helps identify any potential psychological issues that may arise post-donation.


Living kidney donations offer a valuable opportunity for individuals suffering from end-stage renal disease to receive a life-saving transplant. The chances of successful transplantation and improved long-term outcomes are significantly higher with living donations. However, it is crucial to consider the risks associated with the procedure, both for the donor and the recipient.

Thorough evaluation and counseling are essential to ensure the suitability of living donors and to minimize the potential risks. With proper assessment and support, living kidney donations can provide a second chance at life for those in need.