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
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.
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.
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.