Kidney transplants have saved and improved the lives of people with kidney failure. Kidney donations from deceased donors have not been able to keep up with the need for kidney transplants. Over 4,700 people die every year waiting for a kidney transplant. Living kidney donation has revolutionized kidney transplantation and many studies have confirmed the longer survival times for kidneys from a living donor. There are many other benefits of having a transplant from a living donor:
• Living donation eliminates the recipient's need to wait for a transplant on the national waiting list.
• Short and long term survival rates are significantly better and provide a better outcome than transplants from deceased donors. (On average approximately 20 years for a kidney from a living donor, compared to 13 years for a kidney from a deceased donor).
• You know the donor, his/her lifestyle choices and history
• The kidneys almost always start functioning immediately, deceased donor kidneys can take from a few days up to a few weeks to start functioning. (Recipient needs to return to dialysis.) Shortens the waiting time for others on the waiting list
• An individuals health deteriorates the longer you are on dialysis
• A living kidney transplant doubles the life expectancy of the patient, compared to being on dialysis.
• Kidney dialysis is very expensive. The payback for the initial cost for a transplant is one year, even after taking into effect the ongoing cost of anti-rejection drugs.
• You have time to plan for the transplant
• Waiting for a deceased donor can be very stressful.
• The surgery can be scheduled at a mutually-agreed upon time rather than performed as an emergency operation.
• Perhaps the most important aspect of living donation is the psychological benefit. The recipient can experience positive feelings knowing that the gift came from a loved one or someone who cares for you. The donor experiences the satisfaction of knowing that he or she has contributed to the improved health of the recipient.
There is little debate over the benefits of transplantation compared to being on kidney dialysis.