Whether you’re a donor, a potential donor, or a kidney patient looking for a donor, here are a few intriguing facts to share about living donors:
More than a third of living kidney donors are over 50 years old (I was 58 when I donated to my son), and the proportion is rising.
2. Most living donors say they would do it again (often adding “in a heartbeat”).
3. Many living donors were inspired to donate to someone they didn’t know because of an eye-opening article they read or a moving Facebook post that resonated with them.
4. Nondirected donors–empathetic people who choose to donate to someone they don’t know and may never meet–represent only about 3% of living donors in the United States, but the percentage is on the rise.
5. Nondirected donors often save multiple lives byinitiating a swap (aka a paired donation) or even a chain of transplants. If Donor A isn’t a match for their intended recipient (Recipient A), but the nondirected donor is, he or she donates to Recipient A, and Donor A donates to someone else who wasn’t a match for their recipient, and so on.
6. Most living donors (in an informal survey) own rescue dogs. (A shout-out to WELD San Diego for that interesting statistic!)
When living donors
(women) and transplant professionals (men and women) get together, what do they
talk about? Well, if a recent meeting of a local WELD (Women Encouraging Living
Donation) chapter at my house is any indication, assorted animated discussions could
cover the following:
Spreading the word of the urgent need for living donors to reduce the 5+ year wait for a kidney for those on the transplant wait lists
Transplanting pigs’ kidneys to humans: logistics and ethics
Using drones to transport a deceased-donor kidney
A live kidney being put with the plane’s cargo but a heart going in the cockpit with the pilot
Hamilton, the musical
Managing kidney donors’ pain effectively with a combination of meds to reduce or even eliminate use of opioids
Taking part in The Big Ask, the National Kidney Foundation’s program to help kidney patients’ family and friends help the patients find a living donor
Some African Americans being wary of organ donation, specifically, but sometimes the health care system, generally
A transplant center’s setting up a paired donation program, which enables donors and recipients who are not a good match to swap with another pair so as to find a successful match for each pair
Solo camping with your dog
Comparing current and brand-new rules on allocation of livers from deceased donors
New approaches to preventing post-donation constipation in donors
Signing up as an organ donor whether or not you choose to have a little heart on your driver’s license
A grieving family arguing about whether to honor a young person’s wishes to be an organ donor
A young donor concerned about pregnancy, wanting to participate in a study to help provide the answers that elude her now
Comparing two surgeons’ hand sizes
Camping with the Girl Scouts
It was getting late for a
weekday evening, and everyone else had a drive home, but I’ve no doubt we could
have found lots more to talk about.