You need to undergo a comprehensive evaluation if you decide to donate one of your kidneys to a family member such as your spouse, children, siblings, and parents or to a friend or altruistically to a stranger. You are NOT eligible to become a kidney donor if the doctor’s assessment suggests that kidney donation is not safe for you.
During your evaluation, the transplant team will check your urine test and blood test to assess your kidney function, blood chemistries, blood cell counts, liver function and exposures to infections such as Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, HIV and tuberculosis. An electrocardiogram (ECG) needs to be performed to assess the heart. Chest X-ray and abdominal CT scan are the required imaging studies. Other tests such as heart exercise test and cancer screening might be required.
The transplant team will check your blood type as well as the recipient blood type, along with performing a cross match to see if you are compatible, or "match" your recipient.
In the case that you and your recipient are not compatible, you may participate in UCLA's Kidney Exchange Program. This program allows the recipient and donor to enter a paired exchange registry, where the donor will donate to another recipient that is matched, and the recipient will receive a matched kidney from a compatible donor in return.
The answer is NO. Kidney donation is generally safe however it is not risk free. There are some risks associated with any major surgery including surgery for the kidney donation.
Studies have shown that kidney donors have a lifespan similar to general population.
Usually once a year is enough.
Yes you can, but patients are usually instructed to avoid heavy contact sports to minimize the chances of having an injury to the only kidney you have.
Is there any specific diet that I need to follow?
Not really, most people don't follow a special diet, they are may be instructed to decrease their protein intake, but again nothing specific.
Disclaimer: The UCLA Health System cannot guarantee the accuracy of such information. The information is provided without warranty or guarantee of any kind. Please speak to your Physician before making any changes.