The Insider’s Guide to Living Kidney Donation

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“The Insider’s Guide to Living Kidney Donation” is available in a variety of formats and places: Amazon (paperback or Kindle); BookBaby (ppbk and e-book in multiple formats). You can still get signed copies through Flyleaf Books. AND ALL MAJOR RETAILERS CAN ORDER IT!

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See what readers and reviewers have to say:

“Your book and your blog are such excellent resources, full of valuable, concrete, truly helpful information.” –Stormi Murtie, who is preparing to donate as part of a paired exchange program

“I’m the independent living donor advocate at UNC [University of N. Carolina at Chapel Hill]. I thoroughly enjoyed your book and, in particular, loved that it includes so many different perspectives. The book has helped me have better conversations with prospective donors — and also helped inspire me to donate myself!” —-Beth Vazquez, who became a nondirected living donor in June 2022

“I just finished your book and learned a lot. The resources and glossary are so helpful, and I especially liked the many personal stories. I think you did a great job!” –Alice Gilgoff

“How to describe this exceptional book? Maybe as the layman’s encyclopedia of living kidney donation. No, their chosen title does it best. It is a good summary of everything one needs to know about living kidney donation, written to be easily understood by non-medical readers, family, candidates, and potential donors. If it were in my power, I would make this book a handout in every kidney transplant program when the patient and family first consider the too often daunting subject of a kidney transplant….” Read the complete review by the late Jim Gleason, president, Transplant Recipients International Organization (TRIO).

Jim Myers, kidney recipient/donation advocate/broadcast host, called the book “completely unique in the field of Kidney Transplant books.” Read the complete review by Myers, who was NKF’s 2019 Advocate of the Year.

More Praise from Other Key Reviewers

“In The Insider’s Guide to Living Kidney Donation, Carol Offen and Elizabeth (Betsy) Crais break down the complex process of living kidney donation. Every step of living donation is explained in a simple yet informative way. The Guide is easy to follow and provides information on the preparation and testing required to donate….This book is an incredible tool for individuals at any stage of the transplant process. Carol and Betsy wrote the guide they wish they had during their transplant journeys. In addition to answering many questions that potential donors may have, the Guide also includes Carol [as donor to her son] and Betsy’s [as a two-time organ recipient] stories.” —TransplantNATION Magazine, vol. 4, no. 2

“Inspirational, educational, and accessible. By combining personal stories with practical advice and clear information about the ins and outs of living kidney donation, this book proves to be an invaluable resource, answering questions you may never know you had about the process.”
—ERIN WELSH, Ph.D., co-host of “This Podcast Will Kill You”

“Carol Offen and Betsy Crais have left no stone unturned in covering all facets of kidney donation and transplantation. Everything you need to know is right at your fingertips—a tool I wish existed 16 years ago when I donated.”
—BRENDA E. CORTEZ, author of Howl the Owl® series and Because of Organ Donation

“This book is an absolute must for anyone touched by kidney disease. Along the lines of Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain, it is a joy to read, gives you practical knowledge and personal stories, and once you finish it you have a greater understanding of the beautiful world of transplantation.”
—JOSHUA D. MEZRICH, M.D., author of When Death Becomes Life: Notes of a Transplant Surgeon

“The Insider’s Guide to Living Kidney Donation is a real gem, written by Carol Offen and Elizabeth Crais. From The Essentials to the future of living kidney donor transplant, this book covers the waterfront! A must read for anyone seeking a kidney transplant! Highly recommended!”
—JAMES MYERS, 2019 NKF Advocate of the Year; American Association of Kidney Patients (AAKP) Board of Directors

“As a nondirected kidney donor, I was thrilled to read The Insider’s Guide to Living Kidney Donation. Donating a kidney is an experience like none other, but I wish I had had this guide when I donated. Whether you are a candidate for donation or simply curious, we finally have a source that answers every question I had prior to donating, and much more. Kudos to the authors!”
—NED BROOKS, founder of National Kidney Donation Organization (NKDO)

“As a clinician and researcher focused on the care and outcomes of living donors, I am delighted that Carol Offen and Betsy Crais have created this clear, up-to-date, nontechnical guide to help potential donors understand key considerations as they approach the donation process. Guided by firsthand experiences of those who have been there, this resource will help donor candidates and families structure conversations with their transplant professionals.”
—KRISTA LENTINE, M.D., Ph.D.; St. Louis, Missouri

The Insider’s Guide table of contents:



Part One: The Essentials

Chapter 1: Why We Need More Living Donors

Chapter 2: Before You Make That Call

Chapter 3: The Preliminaries

Chapter 4: What If You’re Not a Match?

Chapter 5: Tackling Potential Donor Obstacles

Chapter 6: Who’s on the Transplant Team?

Chapter 7: In-Depth Donor Evaluation

Chapter 8: “D” Day at Last!

Part Two: Our Stories

Chapter 9: Why (and How) I Donated My Kidney

Chapter 10: Why (and How) I Received a Kidney

Chapter 11: Lessons Learned: Our Do’s and Don’ts

Part Three: Family Dynamics

Chapter 12: Helping Manage the Emotional Process

Chapter 13: What One Family’s Missteps Taught Them

Chapter 14: A Parent’s Crisis, a Teen’s Dilemma

Chapter 15: When Even Family Donation Is Uncommon

Chapter 16: When the Donor Is the Partner

Chapter 17: Close Siblings Become Even Closer

Part Four: Community Connections

Chapter 18: A Colleague in Need

Chapter 19: Potential Donors Found Him

Chapter 20: He Donated to Someone He Might Never Meet

Part Five: Supporting Roles

Chapter 21: Helping Overcome Transplant Obstacles

Chapter 22: Researcher as Caregiver

Chapter 23: How a Would-Be Donor Became an Advocate

Epilogue: What’s on the Horizon?

Frequently Asked Questions

Appendix: Resources



Selected Bibliography and Suggested Reading


About the Authors

Here’s an excerpt from the preface:

.When Betsy faced declining kidney function in the early 2000s, the only books she found to inform her were renal-focused cookbooks or medical texts about kidney diseases, with short chapters about her condition (polycystic kidney disease, or PKD). There was little available on what to expect before and after dialysis or transplant, and certainly nothing that delved into topics related to emotions or family relationships.

And when Carol faced the opposite situation years later—contemplating being a living donor for her adult son, Paul—she knew no one who had donated a kidney. She had dozens of questions and could ask the professionals some of them but had no one to advise her who’d been through the experience….

The awareness that most people do not have a critical support system prompted us both to want to write a book that could help others know what to expect throughout the processes….

Sure, a Google search now offers lots of information on living donation, but digging through the often-conflicting, frequently out-of-date, bewildering array is overwhelming. We wanted to do the vetting for readers and offer clear, reliable resources.

Our ultimate goal in writing The Insider’s Guide to Living Kidney Donation is to highlight the desperate need for living donors and to both encourage and support donation. Overwhelming statistics—like 100,000 people on years-long wait lists for a kidney and fewer than 25,000 transplants performed each year—become more understandable and meaningful when they are presented in terms of individuals’ firsthand experiences….