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Top 10 Myths About Living-Donor Kidney Donation

There are more than 750,000 adults in the United States today with irreversible kidney failure who need dialysis or a kidney transplant to survive. Kidney transplantation is the best treatment, but the trouble is there aren’t enough.

Here are the top 10 myths about living-donor kidney donation:

1. Living kidney donors are more likely to live shorter lives after donating

There is no evidence that donation shortens a person’s lifespan.

2. Living kidney donors are more likely to get kidney disease after donating

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The thorough medical evaluation required for donation will determine any specific, known risks to the donor. This process ensures that the donor is healthy enough to donate a kidney and live a healthy life with one kidney.

3. Adults over 50 can’t donate

Donors must be healthy and can donate primarily on a basis of health, not age.

4. A kidney donor can no longer participate in sports or exercise

A donor should be able to return to regular activities and exercise about 4-6 weeks after surgery. In fact, many living donors fully resume their previous exercise regiments, including marathons, or other competitive sports.

5. A kidney donor will have to take medications for the rest of their lives

Generally, prescriptions for pain and stool softeners will be necessary only in the immediate postoperative period.


Prospera, a transplant rejection test that uses a simple blood draw to assess the risk of rejection of a transplanted kidney, helps patients thrive and prosper.


6. A kidney donor will be in the hospital for an extended period of time after surgery

A kidney donor will be hospitalized, on average, for two nights.

7. A donor won’t get to choose the person who gets their kidney

A donor can select a person they know to receive their kidney.

8. A donor will have to follow a new diet plan following donation

A donor should eat a healthy, well-balanced diet, but there are no dietary restrictions.

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9. A donor can no longer consume alcohol following donation

While excessive alcohol use is always dangerous to anyone’s health, a kidney donor should be able consume alcohol in moderation. (Of course, always discuss this with your healthcare team in case you have specific limitations.) 

10. A female donor should not get pregnant after donation

A female donor should wait to become pregnant until medically cleared after donation but donating a kidney does not affect a person’s ability to have a healthy pregnancy.

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